On Sunday the Washington Football Team took on the Detroit Lions in a game that somehow has playoff stakes thanks to the hapless NFC East. The Football Team is not particularly good, but the three wins would be enough to compete in the division at this point in the season. All that was standing their way was a Lions team always finding new ways to lose games in excruciating fashion, typically via blowing a large halftime lead.
Initially, it seemed like this game was going to be following that same script when the Lions jumped out to a 17-3 lead at halftime. They even managed to extend it to to a 24-3 lead midway through the third quarter. Everything was coming up Detroit, but then the Lions fell back into some old habits. A late third quarter rushing touchdown from J.D. McKissic followed by a pair of Antonio Gibson touchdowns in the fourth quarter tied it all up at 24. The Football Team and the Lions exchanged field goals and everything was even at 27 points with 16 seconds left. All the Football Team had to do was not give up a pair of big plays and overtime was assured.
Stafford stole a quick 10 yards and Detroit took a timeout. With 12 seconds left on the Detroit 35, the Lions were going to need a hefty amount of yardage to make a chance at stealing this possible. All Washington had to do was play it safe and not do something like commit an unnecessary roughing the passer, which is exactly what happened when rookie Chase Young just shoved Matt Stafford after the ball was clearly out of his hands.
Never mind whether the play was actually harsh or worth a roughing call. Football at all levels has been clear for years now: When the ball leaves the quarterback’s hands you need to let up. Chase Young shoving Stafford here was just an incredibly bad decision.
Stafford took his free 15 yards to get out to midfield and tagged on another nine to Marvin Jones Jr. This pushed the Lions into Washington territory with a chance to win it from kicker Matt Prater, he of NFL record-holding fame for the longest field goal ever.
— NFL (@NFL) November 15, 2020
He nails it, naturally. The Lions earn their first home victory of the season and Washington somehow saw Detroit’s collapse and said it could do one better. It was a painful loss for the Football Team. Yet, because the NFC East is what it is, they’re still only behind the Eagles and Giants by one game in the win column for the division lead — although Philadelphia has the advantage because of their tie with Cincinnati.