DETROIT - Matthew Stafford held his head down on the bench for the final snap.
Dominic Raiola couldn’t watch, either, fearing a 20th loss in a row and 100th setback of his nine-season career.
When Detroit’s leaders looked up and saw Washington was out of time, they saw what they were hoping to see Sunday.
Lions 19, Redskins 14.
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“We not only got the monkey off our back, we got King Kong off our back,” said Lions owner William Clay Ford. “I’m hoping that this gets us over that hump and gives us a winning attitude.”
Detroit (1-2) hadn’t won since Dec. 23, 2007, and its 19-game skid matched the second longest in NFL history. The Lions no longer have to hear about Tampa Bay’s record 26-game losing streak.
Raiola blew kisses to the crowd of 40,896 that was the smallest at Ford Field and the fewest to watch a Lions home game in 20 years after time expired with Washington stalled at the Detroit 24.
“I’ve always watched, but I’ve never been in this situation before,” Raiola said. “No team has been in this situation before. No one has gone 0-16 and then had to try to win a game the next year.”
The one benefit of losing every game last season was it gave Detroit the No. 1 pick in the draft and it chose Stafford hoping he would be the franchise quarterback it has lacked for decades. The Lions have won one playoff game and had one Pro Bowl QB since winning the 1957 NFL title.
Stafford threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Bryant Johnson in the first quarter, drew a 47-yard pass interference penalty to set up a fourth-quarter score and didn’t turn the ball over after throwing two interceptions in his first two games.
Stafford smiled as often as any long-suffering Lions fan did on Sunday, playfully sticking out his tongue toward the Detroit sideline, and looked like a 21-year-old kid having a blast.
“I’m having fun,” he said. “It’s a great game we get to play.”
Washington doesn’t have the burden of a long losing streak. It does, though, have plenty of woes.
“You either want it or you don’t. A lot of these guys don’t want it,” Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. “They want the other stuff.”
The Redskins (1-2) cut their deficit to five points on Jason Campbell’s second TD pass with 2:36 remaining, but couldn’t stop the Lions from picking up a first down that ran time off the clock and cost them three timeouts.
Washington had its last chance from its 22 with 1:05 to go and failed to do much more than scare the Lions by driving into their territory.