Stafford-Johnson Combo Dispatches Redskins

Matthew Stafford returned to his starting post in Sunday's contest with the Washington Redskins, and used receiver Calvin Johnson to help shake off the rust.

This is what they had in mind.

Matthew Stafford returned to his starting post in Sunday's contest with the Washington Redskins, and used receiver Calvin Johnson to help shake off the rust.

The pair connected for three of Stafford's four touchdown passes, leading to a 37-25 Detroit win, reminding everyone of a tandem the franchise hopes to build around.

"Yeah, there's a lot of bank involved in that connection," coach Jim Schwartz said. "Let's be honest there."

The victory is Detroit's second of the year, matching the team's win total of the last two years combined.

Washington fell to 4-4.

Dating back to his rookie campaign last season, Stafford has suffered a myriad of injuries that has prevented the Lions from truly exploiting the team's top two threats.

Against Washington, his injury-hiatus was evident.

Stafford completed just 7 of 18 passes in the first half, as the team's only touchdown, a 13-yard strike to Calvin Johnson, was buoyed by a 72-yard Stefan Logan punt return.

Stafford's tosses were either underthrown or overthrown, including a poorly tossed pass in Johnson's direction that was nabbed by Redskins' cornerback DeAngelo Hall in the back of the end zone.

"I kind of expected that a little bit," Stafford admitted. "You don't hope it happens, but if it does you understand it."

In the second half, Stafford appeared more refined, engineering three scoring drives, including a 7-play, 37-yard drive that initially stalled on the Washington 10-yard line. Trailing by 5 with just over four minutes remaining, Schwartz's decision to go for it was rewarded by Stafford's quick read, touchdown strike to Johnson in the end zone.

Johnson finished with nine receptions for 101 yards. Nate Burleson added seven catches for 47 yards.

Despite a delay since week one, Johnson said the duo's chemistry manifested onto the field.

"It was big," he said. "There are certain situations where I was just praying and hoping that he was going to see what I saw and he did, and he was able to stick me with the ball.

"A couple of them got called back, but fortunately we were able to keep it going."

Added Stafford, "I think in the beginning of the season we were getting to that point and to tell you the truth, when Shaun (Hill) in there, he did a great job of making sure that Calvin was getting the ball and not only that, but there's little tweaks in every single route and he did a great job of adapting to Calvin, keeping Calvin going, and then when I came back – we've had two weeks now looking at these guys, understanding how we can exploit them and Calvin's a really smart football player and understands the game, which makes it easy."

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