LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Robert Griffin III went head-first instead of sliding, so when the ball popped out it was a fumble.
Aldrick Robinson had a touchdown catch in his hands, but he couldn’t quite maintain possession as he hit the ground in the end zone.
Thanks to the turf, the Detroit Lions ended 74 years of failure in the nation’s capital.
The pair of fourth-quarter bobbles sent the Lions on their way to a 27-20 win over the Washington Redskins on Sunday, dropping Griffin and the defending NFC East champs to 0-3.
Matthew Stafford completed 25 of 42 passes for 385 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, and Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson both had 100 yards receiving for the Lions (2-1).
They beat the Redskins on the road for the first time since 1939, a 21-game streak that comes to a halt as the second-longest in NFL history.
Detroit’s last win away from home in the series came in 1935 against the Boston Redskins, two years before the move to Washington.
The score was tied at 17 when Griffin finally looked something like the RG3 of last year, scrambling to make something out of nothing with a 21-yard run deep into the opponent’s territory.
But the ball jarred loose as he stumbled forward to give himself up at the 30-yard line.
No big deal if he had slid, a fumble recovered by the Lions because he didn’t.
On the next play, Johnson started a drive with a tiptoe catch along the sideline, and David Akers ended it with a 28-yard field goal with 11:08 to play to give the Lions the lead.
The Redskins thought they had gone back in front when Griffin hit Robinson on a post pattern for an apparent 57-yard touchdown with 9:05 to play, but replays showed the ball coming loose as the receiver went to the ground.
Incomplete pass. Those celebrations were for nothing.
The Lions got their insurance touchdown with 3:56 remaining on Stafford’s 11-yard pass to Johnson, who had four Redskins around him as he fought his way across the goal line.
Washington pulled within seven with a field goal with 1:40 to play, but a desperation pass on the game’s final play fell incomplete.
Griffin completed 32 of 50 passes for 326 yards and had his fourth interception of the season, one shy of his total from all of 2012.
He said leading up to the game that he would run the ball more to give his team a spark.
He rushed only six times for 37 yards, including his first carry out of the zone read this season. The Redskins also scored an offensive touchdown for the first time this season.
The Redskins’ defense, which allowed 1,023 yards in the first two games, continues to struggle.
DeAngelo Hall gave Washington the early lead with a 17-yard interception return, but the status quo was restored when the Lions went 85 yards, with Joique Bell breaking three tackles on a 37-yard reception and four more on a 12-yard up-the-middle touchdown run.
Then came a 92-yard drive with completions of 18, 20, 17 and 15 yards, capped when a backpedalling Stafford hit towering tight end Joseph Fauria over the middle for a 5-yard score to give the Lions the lead.
Alfred Morris’ 30-yard run in the second quarter tied the score at 14, and Stafford’s 41-yard pass to Burleson set up a field goal to put the Lions up 17-14 at the half.
The Redskins tied it in the third quarter on the first NFL field goal by John Potter, subbing for Kai Forbath (groin).
A moment of silence was held before the game for the victims of last week’s Navy Yard shooting. The Navy Yard Ceremonial Honor Guard presented the colors for the national anthem.
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