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Redskins Pay Big Price for Mistakes

September 11, 2000|From Associated Press

PONTIAC, Mich. — Daniel Snyder's trophy collection got a bit corroded Sunday.

Snyder's $100-million Redskins were beaten, 15-10, Sunday by Detroit as the Lions capitalized on major mistakes by Deion Sanders and another future Hall of Famer, Bruce Smith.

Jason Hanson kicked five field goals, including a 54-yarder that might have been good from 60 yards. The defense sealed the victory with three interceptions of Brad Johnson passes in the fourth quarter, the last one by Terry Fair with 48 seconds left.

But Sanders and Smith were also responsible for he defeat.

Much of the Detroit quarterback Charlie Batch's 194 yards passing came against Sanders as the Lions chose to stay away from second-year-man Champ Bailey on the other side for the most part. Bailey had two interceptions, one of them a one-handed grab at the Washington six late in the half on a ball that went through Herman Moore's hands.

"They came at me every which way they could," Sanders said. "This is the worst I've ever played in my 12-year career. I don't remember being this bad, giving up this many catches. About 180 [of the Lions' passing yardage] of it was mine."

Said Detroit Coach Bobby Ross: "We didn't design a game plan that said, 'Let's throw against Deion.' That would be stupid. But we felt we had to be very aggressive, so we had to go against him. The other guy's no treat. That Bailey kid is unbelievable."

Both Smith and Sanders had key penalties on Detroit's drive for its final field goal--Sanders a 15-yard facemask call after Charlie Batch's pass to Johnnie Morton and Smith a dubious roughing-the-passer call that kept the drive alive after an incomplete pass on third-and-17. Smith appeared to be in the air as Batch released the ball.

"I'm still befuddled over the call," Smith said. "He [referee Jeff Triplette] told me I can't leave my feet. I've never heard of that call before."

Sanders even made a mistake on a punt with two minutes left, failing to catch a ball that rolled another 10 yards and forced the Redskins (1-1) to start their final drive from their own 11.

The Detroit defense, meanwhile, limited Washington's offense to one touchdown--a five-yard pass play from Johnson to Stephen Alexander in the second quarter. Johnson was 23 for 35 for 245 yards with four interceptions, one on a ball thrown so high and off target that Lions safety Kurt Schulz probably could have called a fair catch on the play.

Batch, playing his first game after missing all of the preseason with a broken knee bone, was 16 for 31 and was intercepted twice.

The win was the second straight in the regular season by the Lions (2-0) over the Redskins after 16 losses dating to 1965. Washington beat Detroit, 27-13, in the playoffs last January.

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