Posted: Tuesday January 11, 2000 02:57 PM
LANDOVER, Maryland (Ticker) -- Stephen Davis worked for less than two quarters before re-injuring his right knee. It was enough to bury the Detroit Lions, who should not have bothered making the trip.
Davis rushed for 119 yards and two touchdowns and the maligned defense of the Washington Redskins dominated the sputtering Lions, 27-13, in an NFC wild card game.
"We did our part today," said Redskins veteran cornerback Darrell Green of Washington's defensive effort. "Our pass rush was there, our run defense was there and our coverage was there. We had a good game plan and kept them off balance."
Appearing in the postseason for the first time under sixth-year coach Norv Turner, the Redskins (11-6) built a 27-0 halftime lead on scoring runs of one and four yards by Davis, a 30-yard touchdown pass from Brad Johnson to Albert Connell and a pair of field goals by Brett Conway.
The Redskins will meet the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the divisional playoffs next Saturday.
Turner could not have asked for a better opponent today. The Lions (8-9) limped into the playoffs with four straight losses and have never won a game in the Washington D.C. area. Detroit is 0-20 against the Redskins at RKF Stadium or Fedex Field, including three playoff losses.
Detroit has lost six straight postseason games and was totally dominated on both sides of the line of scrimmage. The Redskins held a huge advantage in rushing yards, 223-45, and recorded five sacks.
"We knew if we ran right at them we could be successful," said Davis, who had just 15 carries. "We knew coming in that if we execute up front that I can pop off the long runs."
Davis, the NFC rushing champion with 1,405 yards, missed the final two games of the regular season with a sprained right knee. He showed no ill effects today, breaking off a 58-yard run to the outside late in the first quarter.
"He showed great vision on that play," Turner said. "He started inside, but saw the play develop outside and went there."
However on a one-yard run to the Detroit 4, Davis hyperextended the knee and jogged off the field five minutes into the second quarter and did not return.
"I'll be ready by next week," Davis said of his injury.
Washington castoff Gus Frerotte, starting for the injured Charlie Batch, beat his former team at Detroit in November. Today, he struggled from the outset and engineered one meaningless scoring drive as time expired.
Frerotte was 7-of-17 for 111 yards with two interceptions in the first half when the Redskins blew open the game. He finished 21-of-46 for 251 yards and a touchdown.
"You have to have time to plant and get set and get your body behind the throw," Frerotte said. "I didn't have much time out there today. That can make for a long and rough day and it did."
The Lions finally scored with 9:23 left in the fourth quarter when Ron Rice returned a blocked field goal 94 yards.
Frerotte hit running back Ron Rivers with a five-yard TD toss on the final play of the game.
"We took an old-fashioned beating," said Lions coach Bobby Ross.
"I thought we were ready to play coming in. I though we could run the ball and we didn't. That really hurt. Their rush was a big part of the game. We were getting pushed back."
Washington waived Frerotte after the 1998 season and acquired Johnson from Minnesota. Johnson, who was named to the Pro Bowl in his first year with Washington, completed 15-of-31 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions.
"Because Stephen was successful pounding away, it helped our passing game," Johnson said. "Our offensive line did the job.
We pounded them and dominated the front line."
Johnson lost his composure after he threw an interception in the third quarter and took exception to a block by Lions defensive end Robert Porcher. A scuffle ensued and players from both teams began shoving each other before order was restored.
"I understand defensive linemen are trained to do that but I think they cheap-shotted me there," Johnson said.
Redskins Pro Bowl guard Tre' Johnson inadvertently knocked the referee's hat off while he attempted to swing at a Lions player and was ejected.
A 41-yard pass interference penalty on Lions cornerback Bryant Westbrook set up Davis' one-yard touchdown run 5:51 into the game. Johnson threw a deep pass down the right sideline and Westbrook pushed Connell, drawing the penalty. Three plays later, Davis ran behind Tre' Johnson and scored.
Davis broke off his 58-yard run later in the quarter to highlight an eight-play, 87-yard drive. He capped it with a four-yard touchdown run.
A five-yard interception return by Champ Bailey and a 15-yard roughing-the-passer penalty against Lions linebacker Allen Aldridge set up a 33-yard field goal by Conway 1:10 into the second quarter.
Conway added a 23-yard field goal four minutes later after Davis highlighted a drive with 45 yards on five carries.
Johnson hit Connell with a 30-yard touchdown with 1:19 left in the half. Skip Hicks replaced the injured Davis and helped the Redskins drive 82 yards in eight plays. He caught two passes for 27 yards and gained 13 yards on three carries The Lions scored their first points when Lamar Campbell blocked an attempted 31-yard field goal and Rice raced 94 yards for a touchdown.
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