"I told [Coles] I needed this, for my quarterback rating," Portis said.
Leading up to the pass, Portis had opened the second half with consecutive 21-yard runs. After a slump early in the season, Portis has regained his swagger, displaying the razor-sharp cutbacks that made him one of the league's top tailbacks.
Fred Smoot, left, swoops in to intercept Joey Harrington's up-for-grabs pass intended for Detroit's David Kircus in the end zone midway in the fourth quarter. Safety Todd Franz helps out.
(Jonathan Newton - Jonathan Newton -- The Washington Post)
Portis had been lobbying for an option pass since the season started and Gibbs relented on Sunday. The play was set up by Portis's success on the ground.
"It was a dream of mine, it started when I was 8," Portis said of his first career NFL pass.
Gibbs said: "He swore to me that he could throw the football. After we threw it, he wanted to throw it again. He told me they wouldn't be expecting it the next time. I told him he's right, they won't expect it because we're not going to throw it."
It is when Portis runs well, however, that the Redskins have success. In the team's Week 1 victory over Tampa Bay, Portis ran for 148 yards. Two weeks ago, Portis gained 171 yards on 36 carries as the Redskins defeated the Chicago Bears, 13-10. Last week against the Green Bay Packers, he gained 70 yards on only 17 carries as the Redskins lost, 28-14.
With 4:40 left in the third quarter, the Redskins exploited a slow snap from Lions center Jody Littleton to punter Nick Harris at the Detroit 27-yard line. Jacobs, Washington's speedy wideout, sprinted from the left side to block Harris's punt just ahead of safety Todd Franz. "I got such a good jump on the ball," Jacobs said. "When the ball moved, I moved."
The Redskins' Harris pounced on the ball on the Detroit 13-yard line alongside a few teammates and trotted into the end zone to give Washington a 17-3 lead. Jacobs couldn't find the ball after the block, and was thrilled to see Harris being mobbed by teammates in the end zone.
"I was looking hard but I saw Walt go into the end zone so I said: 'My job is done.' " Jacobs said.
Harris said, "I pretty much did the easy work."
The sequence has been so rare that Jacobs was only 1 year old the last time the Redskins returned a block for a touchdown: Sept. 19, 1982, when Curtis Jordan did so against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Down by two touchdowns, Detroit turned desperate with about six minutes left in the game and went for it on fourth and 18 from the Washington 28-yard line. But Smoot leaped high for an interception on the left side of the end zone.
Lions quarterback Joey Harrington threw a one-yard touchdown pass to fullback Cory Schlesinger with just over two minutes remaining, but Redskins rookie Sean Taylor -- back in the lineup after missing a game following his drunken-driving arrest -- recovered the Lions' ensuing onside kick.
"It was too little too late," Lions Coach Steve Mariucci said.