The Washington Redskins hadn't lost to the Detroit Lions for 70 years; and they still haven't. In fact, the Redskins put on their most impressive performance of the 2007 season, and thoroughly thrashed the Lions 34-3 at Fed Ex Field on Sunday.
Here are the Fifth Quarter rankings:
The dawning of a new era? The emerging of a young star? How about just the best game of NFL football that Jason Campbell has played to date. Campbell looked like a savvy veteran against Detroit, not a guy with less than a dozen games of experience.
Not only did Campbell set personal bests in both completions (23) and yardage (248 yards), he looked poised and confident for sixty minutes, and led his team to victory. Those numbers may not be huge for a passing offense, but in the Redskins scheme, they're near perfect. Campbell was officially 23 of 29 and had two touchdowns, one to Chris Cooley (7 yards) and one to Mike Sellers (8 yards). Unofficially, his quarterback rating was 126.8.
Antwaan Randle El was Campbell's favorite target in the first half, hauling in a massive seven catches for exactly 100 yards. Unfortunately, El tweaked his hamstring at the end of the first half and couldn't play at all in the second.
It didn't seem to matter to Campbell. He stood tall in the pocket all day long and went through his reads. Whether it was the primary receiver or one of the check-downs, Campbell seemed to find open receivers time after time. Eight different Redskin receivers caught passes - including three guys that hadn't caught a ball all year long - Brandon Lloyd, Keenan McCardell, and James Thrash.
Cooley finally got to do a little more than just block, and finished with four catches, 29 yards, and the touchdown.
As peculiar as it sounds, the Redskins won the game without running the ball particularly well. Clinton Portis did have eighteen carries and posted 72 yards, but he also fumbled the ball at what could have been a critical juncture in the game.
Collectively Redskin runners managed over 100 yards (118) but neither Portis, nor Ladell Betts were particularly dominant.
The most dominant Redskin back was Sellers; he was an absolute beast. On top of his eight yard touchdown reception, he also had a pulverizing one-yard touchdown run that had to have most Redskin fans asking, 'Where was that against the Giants?' Campbell just handed the ball to Sellers on the one-yard line and the big fullback just wouldn't be denied; three or four Lions got a hand (or more) on him and he even ran into one of his own players, but he still ended up in the end zone. Big Mike had an unusually high five carries for 24 yards, to go along with three receptions for 36 yards*.
The Redskins defense went up against a supposed 'powerhouse' offense and shut them down to the point that the 'experts' are questioning whether they were really that good in the first place. The defense played it's best game in at least two seasons, and stifled the Lions offense at every turn.
The numbers for the defense were spectacular - a safety, six points from an interception return, five sacks and just 144 total yards of offense for the vaunted Lions' offense.
The defensive line was the best it's been for a long time. The Redskins were able to get pressure from the front four all game long, which allowed them to keep seven men back in coverage to stifle Mike Martz' passing attack.
Andre Carter had two sacks, including the one for a safety; he was a one man wrecking crew.
Carlos Rogers brilliantly jumped a route, leapt in front of a pass, and took the interception 61 yards to pay dirt.
It wasn't a perfect display of defense, but it was pretty close.
James Thrash returned a punt 62 yards; unfortunately, he was stripped of the ball at the end of the run. Rock Cartwright was following up the play and was able to pounce on the ball on the one-yard line. Regardless of how it shook out, it was a big special teams play.
Sean Taylor nearly decapitated a Lion on the return.
Shaun Suisham may have missed a field goal from 48 yards, but he got back on track with a 28-yarder, and he kicked off well all day long.
Derrick Frost only had to punt the ball four times, but he pinned Detroit inside the 20-yard line, three of those four times.
The Redskins absolutely dominated the Detroit Lions on Sunday at Fed Ex Field. It may not be worth any more than any other win is, but it should really help get the team back on track after a dismal performance against the Giants.
Up next is the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. The Packers lost their first game of the season on Sunday against the Bears, and they will be out to prove that their quick start wasn't an aberration. It will be a tough contest for the Redskins - but one that they can definitely win if they play like they did against the Lions.
* - Sellers destroyed cornerback Kenoy Kennedy on one of his receptions. Sellers took the pass, lowered his shoulder as Kennedy arrived, and completely ran over him. Not mentioning it somewhere would be a disservice to the magnitude of the play. Kennedy was fine, but he definitely got jacked up!