The Detroit Lions received heroic performances from reserves Kerlin Blaise and Scott Kowalkowski on Sunday in a 15-10 victory over the Washington Redskins.
Left guard Stockar McDougle was a game-day scratch because of a sprained knee, so the Lions started Tony Semple in his place. But Semple suffered a sprained ankle in the first quarter, forcing the Lions to go with their third option, Blaise, against veteran Pro Bowl defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield.
Then Pro Bowl middle linebacker Stephen Boyd suffered a strained back early in the second quarter, forcing the Lions to plug special-teams ace Kowalkowski into the middle of their run defense against NFC rushing champion Stephen Davis.
Stubblefield didn't make a tackle until the fourth quarter and wound up with only two in the game â€“ and one was downfield on a pass play. Detroit tailback James Stewart also had his two longest runs of the game behind Blaise blocks of Stubblefield, a 13-yarder in the second quarter and a 12-yarder in the third.
Kowalkowski, who has more special-teams tackles (101) in his 10-year career than defensive tackles (58), made three defensive tackles to help the Lions hold Davis to 59 yards on the ground in upsetting the Redskins.
TONY BANKS threw five touchdown passes and rallied Baltimore from a 17-point deficit for a 39-36 victory over Jacksonville, the Ravens' first-ever victory over the Jaguars in nine meetings. His final TD pass was a 29-yarder to Shannon Sharpe with 41 seconds left for the win.
The opening weekend belonged to his twin brother Tiki of the New York Giants. The second weekend belonged to Tampa Bay cornerback RONDE BARBER, who returned a fumble 24 yards for a touchdown and sacked Cade McNown 2Â½ times in the Buccaneers' shutout victory over the Chicago Bears.
The DETROIT LIONS are 2-0 this season without scoring an offensive touchdown. Desmond Howard returned a punt for a touchdown and Jason Hanson kicked seven field goals to deliver victories over New Orleans and Washington.
The SEATTLE SEAHAWKS playing outdoors on grass. The sooner the NFL gets rid of all of its domes and artificial-turf fields, the better. It was the first home game in Seattle's 24-year history in the elements at Husky Stadium on the campus of the University of Washington. Good riddance to the Kingdome.
A sellout crowd greeted the Lions on Sunday at the SILVERDOME. Detroit ran its record under coach Bobby Ross to 12-2 before home sellouts with a 15-10 upset of Washington.
With his 1999 starting receivers both gone, Cincinnati's Akili Smith threw 26 incompletions and two interceptions in 43 passes against the NFL's worst pass defense. The Bengals cut CARL PICKENS in a salary-cap move and lost DARNAY SCOTT with a broken leg in the preseason, forcing the Bengals to start rookies Peter Warrick and Ron Dugans at wideout against Cleveland.
Offense wins championships. Attention INDIANAPOLIS and ST. LOUIS: You might want to mix in a little defense this season if you hope to reach Tampa on Jan. 28. The Rams needed 37 points to beat Seattle on the second weekend and the Colts would have needed 39 to beat Oakland (in a 38-31 loss).
Dose of reality
Attention Washington owner DAN SNYDER: NFL teams don't go 16-0 no matter how much money you spend trying to buy a perfect team and a perfect season.
How the mighty have fallen. The three NFC super powers of the '90s â€“ DALLAS, GREEN BAY and SAN FRANCISCO â€“ are a combined 0-6.
The Cincinnati Bengals dedicated PAUL BROWN STADIUM on Sunday with a 24-7 loss to the team Paul Brown founded, the Cleveland Browns.
The KANSAS CITY CHIEFS opened the season with back-to-back games against 13-3 teams of a year ago, Indianapolis and Tennessee. So the Chiefs start the season 0-2.
The DETROIT LIONS have been underdogs at the Silverdome five times in the last two years and are now 5-0 in those games, including a stunner of Washington on Sunday. Here are those upsets:
|Green Bay||+6 Â½||W, 23-15|
|Minnesota||+3 Â½||W, 25-23|
|Tampa Bay||+2 Â½||W, 20-3|
|St. Louis||+3 Â½||W, 31-27|