Detroit, MI- Despite facing a 21-point deficit at halftime and with Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan picking apart the Lions number one ranked defense, the Lions found a way to win again. The Detroit Lions secured their second straight come from behind victory with a 22-21 win over the Atlanta Falcons in London, England. Quarterback Matthew Stafford overcame a slow start to finish the game with 325 yards through the air with two touchdowns. Lion’s receiver Golden Tate had seven catches for 151 yards including a 59 yarder in the third quarter. Stafford’s two touchdowns now give him 120 for his career and is now the all-time team leader in touchdown passes, passing Hall-of-Famer Bobby Layne.
Detroit feel behind early as Matt Ryan of the Falcons went 5-6 on their opening drive including a touchdown pass. The Lions lost defensive tackle Nick Fairley to a knee injury early in the game and reserve defensive tackle C.J. Mosely was sent home before the game because of team violations. The Lions were again without All-Pro receiver Calvin Johnson as he missed his third straight game due to an ankle injury he sustained Oct. 5th against Green Bay. The Lions were also without running back Reggie Bush as he too is nurturing an ankle injury. Golden Tate, who signed with the Lions in the off-season on a 5-year $35 million contract, made play after play again. Tate who leads all receivers in yards after the catch made the big play each time including a 32-yard gain on the first play of the final drive.
The Lions were able to cut the lead to 21-19 with over three minutes left in the fourth quarter but on the two-point conversion, Tate appeared to be held by an Atlanta defender but no pass interference penalty was called. The Falcons had a chance to put the game on ice but bad clock management and costly penalties lead to their demise. On a crucial third down play with under two minutes and Lions with no timeouts, the Falcons drew up a play or receiver Julio Jones but he dropped the ball. With the clock stopped, the Falcons were forced to punt and Detroit took it from there. After the big play to Tate, Lions running back Theo Riddick made a big play on third down that kept the drive alive. He made a one-handed catch at midfield to get the Lions in field goal range, Riddick finished the game with eight catches for 85 yards. After Atlanta used all of their timeouts, the Lions sent out kicker Matt Prater for the potential game winning field goal with four seconds left. Detroit kickers were 0-7 from field goals between 40-49 yards, Prater who is Detroit’s third kicker this season was 0-1 from that distance. So the game appeared to be over when Prater went wide right with his kick, but a delay of game penalty gave the Lions another chance. So from 48 yards away, Prater’s second try went straight down the middle for the Lions second straight comeback victory.
The Lions now stand atop the NFC North with a 6-2 record as Green Bay lost to the New Orleans Saints later that evening. Detroit will now have a bye-week next week before returning to action November 9th at home against the Miami Dolphins. Atlanta drops to 2-6 and will have their bye-week next week as well.