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Lions thwarted on game-ending drive

DETROIT (AP) -- Clinton Portis has run for more than 100 yards
three times this season. Those are the only games Washington has
won.

Coincidence?

"No, I wouldn't think so," Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said.

The star running back not only beat Detroit with his legs, he
also put his right arm to use.

Portis ran for 147 yards on 34 carries and threw a tiebreaking
touchdown pass to lead the Redskins to a 17-10 victory over the
Lions on Sunday.

Detroit rallied late, but its hopes for a tying drive ended at
the Washington 20 as time expired.

"Too little. Too late," Lions coach Steve Mariucci said.

With back-to-back 21-yard gains to open the second half, Portis
became the first player to run for 100 yards against Detroit this
season. Those powerful runs with sharp cutbacks set up his 15-yard
pass to Laveranues Coles that gave Washington a 10-3 lead.

"It was a dream of mine, it started when I was 8," Portis said
of the first pass he's ever thrown. "I was in (Gibbs') ear all
week about it. We ran sweeps, we ran tosses and they were expecting
one of those.

"I told (Coles) I needed this for my quarterback rating."

Taylor Jacobs blocked a punt and Walt Harris scooped up the ball
and returned it 13 yards to put the Redskins ahead by 14 later in
the third quarter.

Detroit drove to the Washington 28 midway through the fourth,
but didn't come away with a score because Fred Smoot intercepted
Joey Harrington's up-for-grabs pass on fourth down in the end zone.

On Detroit's next possession, Harrington tossed a 1-yard TD pass
to Cory Schlesinger to pull the Lions to 17-10 with 2:08 left.

Sean Taylor recovered the ensuing onside kick for the Redskins
and though they could not pick up a first down to run out the
clock, Tom Tupa's punt pinned Detroit at its 2 with 1:36 left and
no timeouts.

The last three times the Lions (4-4) lost, they faced a team
that was struggling.

Washington (3-5) had lost five of six since its season-opening
victory. Green Bay and Dallas ended losing skids last month against
the Lions.

The Redskins might have a chance to turn it around in the second
half of the season if they can figure out a way to get the ball to
Portis -- a lot.

In their previous two wins, Portis ran for 148 and 171 yards and
averaged 32.5 carries. In their five losses, he didn't reach 100
yards rushing and averaged 68.8 on 21 carries.

"If I can get the ball 30 times that means we played ball
control and we had a good chance to win," Portis said. "It's not
a guarantee, but it's a great method to give yourself a chance."

Detroit could have a respectable season if it figures out how to
win at home.

The Lions are 1-3 at Ford Field and 3-1 on the road, where it
lost an NFL-record 24 straight before this season.

"People said we couldn't win on the road. Now we can't win at
home," Harrington said.

Both quarterbacks had rough games -- and weren't helped by
several dropped passes -- but the difference was Mark Brunell could
just hand the ball off to Portis.

Brunell was 6-of-17 for 58 yards. Coles had four catches for 46
yards and a score.

Harrington was 26-of-52 for 269 yards with a TD and an
interception. Az-Zahir Hakim caught seven passes for 120 yards.

Lions rookies Kevin Jones ran for just 20 yards on 12 carries
and Roy Williams had just three receptions for 33 yards. Williams
did, however, add to his long list of spectacular plays with a
leaping, one-handed catch.

With two of the worst offenses in the NFL and two solid
defenses, the first quarter was so lackluster the punters provided
highlights. Nick Harris pinned the Redskins to their 8 and 3, and
Tupa had a 54-yard punt land at the 1. The second quarter was not
much more entertaining, but at least each team made a field goal.

Game notes
Washington DE Phillip Daniels (groin) left the game in the
first half and did not return ... Robert Porcher, who retired last
week with a Lions-record 95.5 sacks, was given a rousing ovation
when he was shown on the scoreboard early in the game.