Written by Garin Turner
In a matchup of undefeated teams, the Atlanta Falcons faced the Detroit Lions in a game that lived up to expectations. Both teams entered the game 2-0 but it was ultimately the Falcons who stayed undefeated winning 30-26 in a game that saw a controversial ending.
In what’s become just another day in the office for Lions QB Matthew Stafford, he led his team down the field for what seemed destined to be another game winning touchdown drive when he connected on a pass to Golden Tate for a one-yard touchdown. However, after reviewing the play the ref overturned the call, deeming that Tates knee touched the ground and there was a ten second runoff that ended the game on the one-yard line.
Atlanta scored on their first drive of the game going 12 plays for 75 yards. The score came on a four-yard touchdown pass from Matt Ryan to Mohamed Sanu. A Devonta Freeman one-yard touchdown run with 5 minutes left in the second quarter brought the score to 17-3 for the Falcons. The Lions finally found the end zone with 1:50 left in the half when Glover Quin had a pick-six that he took 37 yards the other way. The score at halftime was 20-13 Atlanta.
After another Falcons field goal the Lions scored their first and only offensive touchdown of the game when Stafford completed an 11-yard pass to Tate to bring the score to 23-20. When the fourth quarter started the game was tied at 23.
Taylor Gabriel was on the receiving end of a 40-yard touchdown from Ryan in what proved to be the go-ahead score to win the game. Ryan finished the game 24 of 35 for 294 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw three interceptions and was sacked twice. Freeman had 21 carries for 106 yards and a touchdown. Julio Jones had seven receptions for 91 yards but was injured in the fourth quarter. Brian Poole led the Falcons defense with 9 tackles.
Stafford was 25 of 45 for 264 yards and a touchdown, while also being sacked twice. Ammer Abdullah had 14 carries for 47 yards. Tate had seven receptions for 58 yards and the touchdown. Miles Killebrew led the Lions in tackles with nine.
The Falcons overcame three turnovers to win the game. They outgained the Lions in yards 428-324. Detroit was only 3-13 on third down, Atlanta was 4-9. Penalties were an issue for both teams as a combined 166 yards were called.
The Falcons return home next week against the Buffalo Bills.
The Lions will travel to Minnesota to face division rival Minnesota Vikings next week.