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Lions Tame Redskins

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Mike Shanahan and Donovan McNabb speak out on the QB's benching. redskins.com; nfl.com (Published Monday, Nov 1, 2010)

    Washington Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall matched his career best for interceptions with a pick against Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, his sixth of the season.

    But Hall's interception is where the similarities end between this week's 37-25 loss to Detroit and the game against Chicago last weekend.

    Lindsay Czarniak Recaps Redskins-Lions Game

    [DC] Lindsay Czarniak Recaps Redskins-Lions Game
    Lindsay Czarniak looks back at the Redskins' loss to the Lions. (Published Monday, Nov 1, 2010)

    The Redskins' performance this week featured as many questions as last week's win against the Bears seemed to supply answers. Chief among them: Why did coach Mike Shanahan put in backup quarterback Rex Grossman?

    With two minutes remaining in a close game, Grossman earned his only statistics for the 2010 football season so far: one snap for one fumble.

    That is another way that this game resembled the victory over the Bears, which was marked by turnovers and sloppy play.

    Donovan McNabb was not apparently injured. It was unclear that a change in offensive strategies had happened until just before Grossman handed over the ball, and the game, to Detroit.

    Detroit's Ndamukong Suh recovered the ball after Grossman took a hit, running it into the endzone for a touchdown and putting the game out of sight.

    After the game, Coach Mike Shanahan said that Grossman was the right pick to perform in the two-minute drill, since McNabb had less experience leading an offense without timeouts.

    “I thought that was the best scenario for us to win,” Shanahan insisted.

    McNabb, who was 17 of 30 for 210 yards with a TD and an interception, refused to criticize Shanahan’s decision.

    “You have to be a professional,” he said. “There’s a long season ahead of us.”

    McNabb watched the end of the game from the sideline with a baseball cap, getting benched for just the second time in his career. The other time was two years ago against Baltimore, when he was playing for Philadelphia.

    “You just have to learn from it and move on,” McNabb said. “I did it then, and I’ll do it now.”

    Shanahan said McNabb is still the team’s starting quarterback. If that is still true in two weeks after a bye, McNabb will get another chance against his former team when the Redskins host the Eagles in a Monday night game.

    Beyond the final two minutes, both offenses looked flat. Special teams made a massive difference for both squads -- and not always for the best. While Redskins punter Hunter Smith spent last week punting the ball off to the sidelines, this week he delivered straight to Detroit's Stefan Logan -- who returned the ball 71 yards and set the Lions up for a touchdown catch for Calvin Johnson.

    On the other end, Detroit definitely should have avoided kicking the ball to Brandon Banks, who had one 95-yard kickoff return called back on a penalty only to later provide a 96-yard return for a score.

    Johnson gave the Lions three touchdowns during a game in which the teams juggled the lead several times.

    While it seemed inevitable that one of the teams would win by a closs margin -- both teams have won or lost most of their games by fewer than 8 points, and Washington has won most of its victories within the final two minutes. But Detroit, now 2-5, re-emphasized their lead within the last two minutes.