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SAM FARMER / ON THE NFL

Lions win (and that's not a typo)

Detroit ends 19-game losing streak. Brett Favre pulls off a miracle win for the Vikings.

September 28, 2009|SAM FARMER | ON THE NFL

Detroit's NFL team still starts with an L.

For once Sunday, it didn't end with one.

The Lions ended the second-longest losing streak in league history, winning for the first time in 20 tries with a 19-14 victory over Washington.

The good people of Detroit might not believe it -- the game was blacked out on TV, and witnessed live by the team's smallest crowd in 20 years (40,896) -- but their Lions finally have something to show in the left-hand column.

"No team has been in this situation before," center Dominic Raiola said. "No one has gone 0-16 and then had to try to win a game the next year."

On the same day Detroit reappeared on the radar screen, there were plenty of other noteworthy story lines:

* In the only matchup between undefeated teams, Brett Favre rallied Minnesota to a 27-24 victory over San Francisco, throwing a can't-believe-I-just-saw-that, 32-yard touchdown pass to Greg Lewis with two seconds left.

It was the 43rd time Favre has led his team to victory when it trailed or was tied in the fourth quarter.

"It's hard to even recall all of 'em," he told reporters. "This one was pretty special."

Teammate Jared Allen told reporters what he was thinking as he watched from the sideline.

"Be Brett," Allen said. "One time. Just be Brett."

* The old Titans -- the New York Jets -- beat the new ones with a 24-17 victory over Tennessee, making the Jets' Mark Sanchez the first rookie quarterback in league history to win his first three games. The Titans, who were an NFL-best 13-3 last season, have yet to win a game. Call it the Jets over the Yets.

"I'd like to say that this is exactly what I predicted, but we played three outstanding football teams," said Jets Coach Rex Ryan, whose team opened the season with victories over Houston and New England. "We're 3-0 right here. Maybe that says something about us."

* In the most lopsided game of the day (and maybe the season), the New York Giants crushed Tampa Bay, 24-0, denying the home team a first down until midway through the third quarter. The Buccaneers were 86'd in the truest sense, rolling up 86 yards to the Giants' 397.

"They beat us down," said Raheem Morris, first-year coach of the Buccaneers.

"We were beat by a grown-man team, a team we want to be like one day. They came in here and took it to us. Out-manned us, out-gunned us. . . . It wasn't even close."

* Michael Vick made his return after a forced hiatus that lasted 1,001 days. He backed up Philadelphia's Kevin Kolb in a 34-14 thrashing of Kansas City, taking the field for 11 snaps.

He had a run for seven yards and two incomplete passes.

"It's a different role, but it is what it is," Vick said. "It was a small look. We have so much in store for the future."

More important for the Eagles, Kolb has thrown for 718 yards in two games.

* The Bengals, who had lost to Pittsburgh in Cincinnati eight consecutive times, stunned the defending Super Bowl champions, 23-20.

Nothing matches the futility the Lions have known. By beating Washington, they collected their first victory since December 2007.

It was also the first victory for rookie Coach Jim Schwartz, and rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford, who couldn't bear to watch the Redskins' final do-or-die snap.

"I'm 100 times more nervous when I'm watching from the bench than when I'm playing, so I figured I'd just let the crowd noise tell me what happened," Stafford said. "When it got really quiet, I couldn't take it, so I looked up, and saw them running, and then the tackle, and then I saw the clock was at zero."

After that loss, Jim Zorn's clock as Redskins coach is rapidly winding down. This could be the final straw for him. His future was in question coming into the season, and the Redskins were coming off an uninspired 9-7 home victory over the sad St. Louis Rams.

Don't be surprised if Redskins owner Daniel Snyder shells out the cash for Mike Shanahan or Bill Cowher, in keeping with his reputation for deep pockets and shallow patience.

"It don't matter if Joe Gibbs was here or any all-star coach," defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth said, "[critics are] still going to point fingers."

Northern explosion?

The typical honeymoon period between Terrell Owens and his new team lasts at least a year. That was the case before things went south in San Francisco, Philadelphia and Dallas.

It will be interesting to see if the T.O. grace period lasts that long in Buffalo, where Owens went without a catch Sunday for the first time in 185 games.

Eye of the beholder

The Seattle Seahawks unveiled their retina-burning alternate uniforms against Chicago, featuring neon-lime jerseys with dark blue sleeves and pants. Something you might wear, say, when riding a bike at night.

"You've got to have fashion," receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh told SeattlePI.com last month, declining to reveal the details of the uniforms.

"Remember that. Don't say they're ugly, because they're not. You can't be Plain Jane. You got to have some type of fashion. You don't wear a black suit with black shoes. You got to have some fashion."

Some uniforms are throwbacks. Others just should be.

--

sam.farmer@latimes.com

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