Live: Stafford late TD pass lifts Lions to 20-17 win

James Hawkins
The Detroit News

It was an all-too-familiar situation with the game hanging in the balance in the final minute.

Trailing 17-13 and needing a touchdown to win, Matthew Stafford came through, throwing an 18-yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin with 22 seconds left to lift the Lions to a 20-17 win over Washington.

Stafford started the final drive by hitting Marvin Jones for a 23-yard gain and scrambling for 14 yards before the Lions called their first timeout with 38 seconds left at the Washington 38.

A 20-yard completion by Andre Roberts set up a first-and-10 at the 18 and forced the Lions to burn their second timeout.

After back-to-back incompletions to Golden Tate, Stafford hit Boldin for the winning score.

Washington’s last-gasp effort came up short as Kirk Cousins threw two incompletions and a lateral play was quickly broken up on the final play of the game.

Cousins TD run gives Washington a 17-13 lead

After the Lions couldn’t come up with an answer to Washington’s touchdown, they desperately needed a stop on defense.

They had their chance with Washington facing a third-and-4 at its 30, but Kirk Cousins completed 19-yard pass to Jamison Crowder.

They had another chance to hold Washington to a field goal with a third-and-1 at the Lions’ 22, but again failed as Chris Thompson broke off a 3-yard run to pick up a first down.

One play later, Cousins capped the drive with a 19-yard touchdown run to give Washington a 17-13 lead with 1:13 left.

Lions fail to counter Washington's score

The Lions couldn’t muster a response to Washington’s score.

After picking up a first down, Matthew Stafford was sacked for a 6-yard loss by linebacker Preston Smith to force a third-and-14. Stafford targeted Golden Tate deep down the left sideline but the pass was broken up by safety Will Blackmon and the Lions punted back to Washington clinging to a 13-10 lead with 5:20 left in the game.

Cousins TD pass trims Lions lead to 13-10 in fourth

The Lions’ inability to come up with a stop on third down early in the drive finally cost them.

After Robert Kelley’s 4-yard run moved the sticks on a third-and-1 on the third play, Kirk Cousins threw a 26-yard pass to Jamison Crowder and 27-yarder to Vernon Davis to set up a first-and-goal at the 1.

Two plays later, Cousins hit Kelley for a touchdown on a play-action pass as Washington cut Lions’ lead to 13-10 with 8:20 to play.

Prater hits FG, Lions lead 13-3 in fourth

The Lions cashed in on the Washington turnover and extended their lead to 13-3 with a Matt Prater 27-yard field goal with 13:14 remaining.

It took the Lions two plays to move past midfield before Matthew Stafford connected with Golden Tate for a 22-yard completion to set up at first-and-10 at the Washington 24.

Stafford extended the drive by hitting Anquan Boldin for a 9-yard gain on a third-and-6 to give the Lions a first down at the 11.

The Lions went backwards as Stafford was sacked for a 3-yard loss and Taylor Decker was flagged for holding to make it second-and-22 at the 23.

A 14-yard catch by Tate made it a manageable third down but Stafford’s pass for Tate was off target as the Lions settled for a field goal.

Hyder comes up with Lions' second takeaway

The Lions defense continues to bend but not break against Washington.

After Washington converted a third-and-2 and moved across midfield following Chris Thompson’s 16-yard run, it was right on the cusp on field-goal range.

But Matt Jones and Kirk Cousins botched a handoff and Kerry Hyder recovered the fumble at the Lions’ 38 to come up with the defense’s second takeaway of the game. The Lions lead Washington, 10-3, with 3:28 left in the third quarter.

Zenner TD gives Lions a 10-3 lead

When the Lions get Marvin Jones involved, good things usually tend to happen.

After not being targeted at all in the first half, Jones made a diving 52-yard catch to help set up Zach Zenner’s 1-yard score to give the Lions a 10-3 lead over Washington with 7:28 left in the third quarter.

Jones made his incredible catch despite being interfered with by cornerback Josh Norman, who went down on the play and headed straight to the locker room after lying on the field for several minutes.

Matthew Stafford went right back to Jones for an 11-yard completion to set up a first-and-goal at the 1 that Zenner punched in two plays later.

Penalties aid Lions, Washington punts to open third quarter

Kirk Cousins continues to take all the intermediate passes the Lions’ defense gives him. He opened the third quarter with a 17-yard pass to Pierre Garcon and went back to him for 5-yard gain on third-and-3.

But a pair of false start penalties aided the Lions as Washington wasn’t able to dig out of a second-and-13 situation and punted just across midfield.

Cornerback Darius Slay has been ruled out for the remainder of the game with a hamstring injury.

Lions, Washington tied up at halftime

And we’re all tied up going into halftime after Dustin Hopkins’ 38-yard field goal evened it at 3 on Washington’s final drive of the first half.

Kirk Cousins was efficient on the drive, tossing an 8-yard pass to Vernon Davis before Matt Jones reeled off a 2-yard run on third-and-1 to pick up a first down at its 40-yard line.

Cousins hit Jamison Crowder for 16 yards and Davis for nine yards later on the drive. The Lions were able to tackle Chris Thompson just short of a first down on a third-and-4, to set up the field-goal attempt and prevent Washington from taking a few shots at the end zone.

Washington will receive the ball to start the third quarter.

Lions can't capitalize after missed FG

The Lions were unable to take advantage of the momentum after Washington missed its field-goal attempt.

Matthew Stafford & Co. were held to their second three-and-out after an incompletion and 2-yard gain by Zach Zenner set up a third-and-8 at their 37.

But Stafford was sacked by linebacker Ryan Kerrigan for an 8-yard loss to force a punt and give the ball right back the Washington’s offense with 3:17 left in the second.

Washington misses FG, Slay goes down with injury

Washington continues to pound the ball on the ground and the Lions’ defense is offering little resistance. After running back Chris Thompson broke loose for 16 yards on a second-and-10, Robert Kelley picked up another first down with consecutive runs of five yards.

Safety Rafael Bush sacked Kirk Cousins for a 9-yard loss but Washington picked that yardage back up with a 10-yard catch by Thompson, setting up a manageable third-and-9 at the Lions’ 48.

Cornerback Darius Slay went down on the play with a hamstring and walked off the field with a noticeable limp. Johnson Bademosi replaced Slay, who is questionable to return, and Cousins went right after him, completing a 14-yard pass to Jamison Crowder.

Cousins hit Crowder again for a 6-yard gain on a third-and-9 to put Washington into field-goal range at the Lions’ 27, but Dustin Hopkins missed from 45 yards as he hit the left upright. The Lions still lead, 3-0, with 4:56 left in the second quarter.

Prater FG puts Lions up, 3-0

Matt Prater made amends for his first missed field goal, knocking one home from 43 yards to give the Lions a 3-0 lead over Washington with 9:37 left in the second quarter.

Justin Forsett played a big role in the Lions’ drive as he’s starting to make more of an impact in his second game with the Lions. After picking up a modest four yards on his first carry, he followed that up with an 8-yard reception and consecutive runs of nine yards to pick up two straight first downs and push the ball to midfield.

An offensive holding on Anquan Boldin set up a first-and-20 and Andre Roberts dropped what would’ve been a first down. Golden Tate did the job, though, taking short pass for 27 yards to give the Lions a first down at the Washington 33.

The Lions moved the ball a little further into field goal range before Zach Zenner was dropped for a 1-yard loss on third-and-1, setting up Prater’s field goal attempt.

Lions' D recovers fumble to end Washington red-zone threat

The Lions’ defense came up with a huge goal-line play for the second straight week.

After Matt Prater’s missed field goal gave Washington the ball with good field position, quarterback Kirk Cousins wasted little time moving deep into Lions’ territory.

Cousins threw consecutive 11-yard completions to Chris Thompson and Niles Paul before hitting tight end Vernon Davis for a 22-yard to set up a first-and-goal at the Lions’ 7.

But on the ensuing play, running back Matt Jones was stripped by Brandon Copeland and Tavon Wilson recovered the loose ball in the end zone to end the threat.

The Lions take over at their 20 with 20 seconds left in the first quarter and the game still scoreless.

Lions come up empty, Prater misses FG

The Lions started to find their footing on their second drive as Matthew Stafford hit Golden Tate for an 11-yard catch, Zach Zenner followed with a 9-yard run and Stafford hit tight end Clay Harbor for a 9-yard gain to pick up a pair of first downs.

Things continued to go the Lions way after they got a lucky bounce on third-and-9 as a ricocheted pass ended up in the hands of Tate for a 16-yard completion to cross midfield.

But the drive fizzled out with back-to-back Stafford incompletions and Matt Prater badly missed a 49-yard field goal attempt, which will give Washington the ball at its 39 with 3:51 left in the first quarter and the game still scoreless.

Lions, Washington trade punts on opening drives

The Lions’ defense wasn’t able to hold Washington to a three-and-out and failed to stop it on its second third-down attempt. Running back Matt Jones converted a third-and-1 with a 3-yard run and former Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins hit Jamison Crowder for a 19-yard gain on a third-and-6.

The third time it was able to get the job done after Jones fumbled on first down for no gain and Armonty Bryant sacked Cousins for a 9-yard loss to set up a third-and-19. Cousins pass for DeSean Jackson was incomplete as Washington’s open drive stalled at their 41-yard line and the two team’s traded punts to open the game.

Lions' offense opens with quick three-and-out

The Lions opened the game with a quick three-and-out. After a Matthew Stafford incompletion, Zach Zenner picked up eight yards on second down. Stafford then hit Anquan Boldin for what appeared to be a first down, but he was ruled just short of the first-down marker, setting up a fourth-and-1 at the Lions’ 34. Lions coach Jim Caldwell seemed to mull whether to challenge the spot but elected to take a timeout and punt the ball away.

Pregame notes

Washington visits Ford Field on Sunday for a 1 p.m. kickoff as the Detroit Lions take aim at their third straight victory. Follow the action here with live updates throughout the game by James Hawkins of The Detroit News.

For the third straight week, the Lions will have a shortened backfield and only two healthy running backs. Zach Zenner is slated to start for the second week in a row with Justin Forsett serving as the backup. For a complete list of today's inactives, click here.

Washington rolls into Ford Field with a four-game win streak, while the Lions have won two straight. Containing QB Kirk Cousins will be key for the Lions if they want to make it three in a row.

For predictions of today's game from James Hawkins, Justin Rogers, John Niyo and Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News, click here.