Stafford engineers late drive to rally Lions, 20-17

It should come as no surprise to anyone by now: Matt Stafford is as clutch as it gets.

DETROIT - Matthew Stafford did it again.

Stafford led his third straight game-winning drive in the final two minutes Sunday, throwing an 18-yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin with 16 seconds to play to lead the Detroit Lions to a 20-17 victory over Washington at Ford Field.

The Lions won all three games on their three-game homestand in dramatic fashion to improve to 4-3, and now head out on a two-game road trip against the Houston Texans and Minnesota Vikings in prime playoff position.

Stafford’s heroics came after Kirk Cousins ran for the go-ahead 19-yard touchdown in a game when both teams lost their top cornerbacks to injury.

The Lions started their final possession at their own 25-yard line with 1:05 on the clock and three timeouts.

Stafford rolled left on the first play from scrimmage and threw across his body to Marvin Jones for a 23-yard gain.

He scrambled for 14 yards and a first down on the next play, and Andre Roberts made a leaping 20-yard fingertip catch against his old team on the third play to give the Lions first-and-10 at the Washington 18.

After two incomplete passes, Stafford threaded a pass between three defenders to Boldin, who dove into the end zone to give the Lions the lead.

(Mobile users can also watch the play here).

Washington had three desperation plays on its final drive, but Tahir Whitehead hauled Vernon Davis down after a short gain on a lateral play to seal the victory.

Since starting the season 1-3, the Lions have shown remarkable resilience in their winning streak.

On Sunday, they played their sixth straight game without top linebacker DeAndre Levy, their second straight without defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, and they lost Darius Slay to a hamstring injury in the first half.

The Lions led 13-3 after a Matt Prater field goal early in the third quarter, but Cousins led two straight scoring drives to give Washington a short-lived 17-13 lead.

Cousins ran for a 19-yard touchdown with 1:05 to play on a read-option keeper.

Stafford finished 18-for-29 passing for 266 yards with one touchdown. He has now led 24 game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime in his career.

Jones had four catches for 94 yards for the Lions, and Zach Zenner scored the team’s first touchdown on a 1-yard run.

Washington (4-3) squandered a handful of scoring opportunities in the first three quarters.

Matt Jones fumbled into the Lions' end zone on Washington’s second possession, Dustin Hopkins missed a 45-yard field goal off the top of the left upright one series later, and Cousins lost a handoff inside Lions territory when he tripped on center Spencer Long’s feet just after halftime.

Cousins finished 30-for-39 passing for 301 yards, and Jamison Crowder had seven catches for 108 yards.​

Detroit Free Press


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