The Redskins were favorites, as the Lions had gone 0-21 at Washington since 1937. But the Lions won 27-20, and Griffin's head-first fumble was pivotal.
NFL rules say that when "a runner slides feet first, the ball is dead the instant he touches the ground with anything other than his hands or his feet." Griffin slid head first, so it was ruled a live ball and a fumble.
"I was trying to declare myself down, avoid the big hit from the safety coming from the middle, knee down, elbow down," Griffin said.
"But it's the rule. It can be a sucky rule, but it still one of the NFL rules. And they said it's a fumble. … I've just got to make sure if I dive forward, hold onto the ball. And then if I slide feet first, then it's not a fumble."
Since surgery and rehab, Griffin practiced through preseason but did not play in any preseason games. His play since the start of the season has been consistently scrutinized as the team has gone 0-3.
That scrutiny continued with the fumble, which cost the Redskins a touchdown opportunity. The fumble came with the game tied 17-17, and paved the way for Detroit's win, overshadowing a statistically good day for Griffin.
But the fumble wasn't the only play that cost a touchdown opportunity. Officials ruled on the field that Griffin had completed a 57-yard touchdown pass to Aldrick Robinson, but was overturned on review.
In the second quarter, Griffin was intercepted in the Detroit red zone.
"No one wants to be 0-3. We don't play this game to get moral victories. You play the game to win, and we didn't win," said Griffin.