DETROIT — D’Andre Swift made his first career start Sunday, and anyone who watched it had to be thinking: What took so long?
Swift had a career-high 149 yards from scrimmage and keyed three scoring drives as the Detroit Lions snapped a two-game losing streak with an improbable 30-27 win over Washington at Ford Field.
Swift ran for 81 yards on 16 carries, had another 68 receiving on five catches, and Matt Prater made the winning 59-yard field goal as time expired after the Lions let Washington claw its way back from a 21-point second-half deficit.
Prater’s final kick came after the Lions were the beneficiary of a roughing the passer penalty on Chase Young with 6 seconds to play.
The call, which came after Matthew Stafford missed Quintez Cephus on a bomb — Cephus was wide open on the play, but did a poor job tracking the ball — gave the Lions first-and-10 at midfield.
Stafford threw a quick slant to Marvin Jones for 9 yards, the Lions took a timeout with 3 seconds to play, and Prater, who entered the game just 2 of 5 on kicks of 50-plus yards this season, made the field goal with room to spare.
The Lions (4-5) had lost nine games previously in which they held double-digit leads under head coach Matt Patricia, including games to the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints earlier this year when they squandered leads of 17, 11 and 14 points, respectively, and nearly had another choke job Sunday.
Leading 24-3 after a Prater field goal to open the second half, the Lions allowed three straight Washington touchdown drives of 82, 84 and 61 yards.
Ex-Lions running back J.D. McKissic scored Washington’s first touchdown on a 2-yard run with 5:28 left in the third quarter. Washington converted a fourth-and-13 to keep the drive alive, on a 15-yard pass from Alex Smith to Logan Thomas.
The Lions went three-and-out on their next possession, and Washington followed with another 11-play drive, this one covering 84-yard drive. McKissic converted a third-and-2 on the possession, and Antonio Gibson scored his first touchdown on a 2-yard run.
Gibson scored on a 5-yard run with 6:15 to play before the two teams traded late-game dramatics.
The Lions took a 27-24 lead on Prater’s 37-yard field goal with 2:37 to play. Swift accounted for 46 of the Lions’ 56 yards on the drive, only to have Washington tie the game on a 41-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins with 21 seconds left.
Cornerback Desmond Trufant committed two penalties on the drive. He was called for pass interference on a fourth-and-4, when he tried to jump a quick slant pass to Terry McLaurin, and flagged for defensive holding three plays later on third-and-10.
Washington quarterback Alex Smith threw six straight incompletions at one point on the drive, not including the plays that drew penalty flags.
Smith, making his first start since a gruesome leg injury almost two years ago, completed 38 of 55 passes for 390 yards.
Stafford finished 24 of 33 for 276 yards and three touchdowns for the Lions, who remain on the fringe of playoff contention and visit the Carolina Panthers next week.
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