In a stunning game of two halves, Detroit overcame Atlanta on a last-second field goal by Matt Prater. The Lions had trailed 21-0 at the half.
In irony of ironies, when this season has seen the Lions let down by the kicking game, kicker Matt Prater was left to win the game.
On a 43-yard attempt, Prater missed it wide-right. However, the Lions gained a massive break by being penalised for a delay-of-game. This gave Prater the chance to kick again from 48-yards. He nailed it to complete the improbable and nerve-wracking win.
In the first half, the Lions had been dominated 21-0. The Lions’ offense stuttered and spluttered and Stafford threw an errant pick which didn’t help things. Matt Ryan threw touchdown passes to Devonta Freeman and Bear Pascoe. Steven Jackson completed the Atlanta scoring by running in virtually untouched with 3:48 left in the 1st half.
The Falcons would not score again.
The Lions came out attacking in the second half. On their opening possession of the 2nd half, the offense drove down but had to settle for a field goal. The Falcons were stopped and the Lions responded by finding the endzone with a beautiful 59-yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate with 4:38 left in the 3rd quarter. With Nick Fairley injured in the 1st half, the defense really stepped up and started to frustrate Matt Ryan.
To close the 3rd quarter, momentum swung yet again in the Lions’ favour. Ryan threw an errant interception to Cassius Vaughn who returned the ball to the Falcons’ 7-yard line. Once again the Lions had to settle for 3 points, but made things a one-score game with momentum on Detroit’s sideline. Matt Ryan continued to have a decent performance, but again the Detroit defense stepped up and forced a punt.
Down 21-13, what followed was arguably the Lions’ most patient and efficient drive of the season so far.
Staying committed to both pass and run, Staford led a 13-play, 69-yard touchdown drive which kept the chains moving for 7:29. Theo Riddick capped the drive, who would finish the day with a stellar 8 catches for 74 yards. Going for the 2-point conversion to tie the game, Detroit opted to pass but threw incomplete to Golden Tate on a debatable defensive penalty non-call.
With the score at 21-19, the Falcons managed to take 2:10 off the clock before having to punt. However, Atlanta’s play-calling can be questioned, especially the dropped screen-pass on 3rd down, that would give the Lions an extra 40 seconds to comeback.
With no time-outs, 1:38 left and starting at the 6-yard line, Stafford opened things up by completing to Tate for 33 yards. Two plays later, an insane one-handed 20-yard grab by Theo Riddick set the Lions up at the Falcons’ 41-yard line. Another 10-yard strike to Jeremy Ross was followed by the Lions running the ball to set up the kicking position.