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Falcons 22, Lions 23: Atlanta finds yet another way to lose dramatically

The Falcons didn’t help themselves in the least.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Lions, at 2-3, still have hope for the playoffs even if those hopes are dimming. With just 1 win so far, the Falcons aren’t technically out of it, but their hopes would require a dramatic, never seen before turn around. Can they move towards that impossible goal with a win against the Lions? Read on to find out.

First quarter

After the Lions won the toss and deferred with Powell bringing the ball out to the 18, the Falcons offense starts with a run by Todd Gurley that bounces outside for a short gain. After a throw away on 2nd down, on 3rd and 9 Matt Ryan completes the pass to Hayden Hurst who picks up the first. Gurley runs for 3 and 2 on consecutive plays and on 3rd and 5, Ryan can’t connect with Russell Gage. Falcons punt.

The Lions offense starts from their 24 with a run by Adrian Peterson for a gain of 7. Peterson is dropped for a 1 yard loss and on 3rd and 4 Keanu Neal tackles Isaac Nauta short of the sticks to force the punt.

After the punt goes for a touchback, the Falcons start with another Gurley run for 2 yards and a pass to Gage that loses 2 yards. On 3rd and 10 Ryan is forced to pass short to Brian Hill, who can’t pick up the first. Falcons punt.

From their 29, the Lions start with a pass from Matt Stafford to T.J. Hockenson for a 16 yard gain and the first. Stafford then can’t connect on the deep ball to Marvin Hall and Peterson is stopped for a 1 yard gain on the ground. On 3rd and 9, Stafford connects over the middle with Marvin Jones for a big gain and the first. DeAndre Swift picks up 8 on his first run and his second run goes for 10 yards to setup first and goal. He gains 2 more on 1st down and Foye Oluokun gets a pass breakup on Marvin Jones on 2nd down, on 3rd and goal A.J. Terrell comes in and sacks Stafford, but a brain dead ref calls it a roughing penalty. Swift runs it in for the TD on the next play.

Falcons 0, Lions 7

From their 18, the Falcons offense goes to Gurley again for a run up the middle for minimal gain. After missing Julio Jones on 2nd and 8, on 3rd down Ryan can’t connect with Brandon Powell and the offense goes 3 and out again.

Detroit starts their drive with a pass for 1 yard to Peterson and he’s tackled for no gain on the run on 2nd down. On 3rd and 9 Danny Amendola drops the pass, forcing the punt.

Atlanta starts their drive from the 11 with a pass to Hayden Hurst, who picks up 15 and the first. Ryan hits Julio with a quick pass for 8 yards followed by what looked like an incomplete pass to Calvin Ridley, but the ball ultimately bounced around and landed in the hands of Hurst for the completion after the challenge. Ryan can’t connect with Ridley down the left sideline but the dump off pass to Brian Hill picks up 9 and takes us to the end of the quarter.

Falcons 0, Lions 7

Second quarter

On 3rd and 1, Dirk Koetter calls a stupid wild cat that goes nowhere. On 4th and 1 Ryan completes the quick pass to Hurst for the first. Ryan finally connects with Ridley down the sidelines for 15 and the first. Ryan can’t quite connect with Hurst, but a defensive holding gives Atlanta the first. After Gurley picks up nothing on the ground and Calvin Ridley is called for pass interference, on 2nd and 20 Ryan passes to Gurley to pick up 11. On 3rd and 9, Ryan targets Ridley down the right side and a pass interference call on Detroit sets up 1st and goal from the 1. Ryan throws incomplete to Luke Stocker on 1st down and Gurley is stopped short on the 2nd down run. On 3rd and goal, Todd Gurley finally punches it in for the touchdown.

Falcons 7, Lions 7

Detroit starts from their 21 with a pass to Kenny Golladay for 13 yards and the first. After Peterson gains 7 on the ground and he’s stopped for no gain on 2nd down, Stafford finds Danny Amendola wide open down the right side for a big gain. A roughing the passer penalty adds 15 more yards. DeAndre Swift runs for a 3 yard loss and picks up 2 on the next reception. On 3rd and 11 from the Falcons 12, Hockenson falls 1 yard short of the first. On 4th and 1, Dante Fowler violently drops Adrian Peterson in the backfield for the stop and turnover on downs.

The Atlanta offense takes over on their own 2 with an incomplete pass to Hurst. Gurley runs for 2 on 2nd down and on 3rd and 8 Matt Ryan hits Calvin Ridley down the right side for 30 yards and the big first down. Brian Hill gains 1 on the ground on 1st down and Ryan is pressured but moves around long enough to pass to Hill for the first down. After Hill runs for 2, Ryan finds Hurst down the middle for 18 and another first. After the 2 minute warning, Gurley picks up 3 on first down and Ryan hits Powell for a 4 yard gain to setup 3rd and 3. Ryan keeps the drive alive with a pass to Julio. Ryan hits Julio again for another first down conversion to setup 1st and goal from the 5. Gurley picks up 1 on the 1st down run and a beautiful end zone pass goes to waste as Ridley can’t stay in bounds. On 3rd and goal Ryan finds Ridley cleanly this time for the go ahead touchdown.

Falcons 14, Lions 7

With 29 seconds left in the half, the Lions offense starts with a pass to Hockenson for 10 yards and the first. Kenny Golladay picks up another 15 across the middle. After a false start, Stafford hits Marvin Jones deep across the middle to set them up on the 32 yard line. Matt Prater comes on for the 50 yard field goal attempt and nails it.

Falcons 14, Lions 10

Third quarter

The second half starts from the Lions 19 with a run by Swift for 2. Stafford then hits Marvin Jones for 14 yards and the first. Keanu Neal blows up the next play and sacks Stafford for a big 9 yard loss. On 2nd and 19, the pass to Swift picks up 8 and on 3rd and 11 Stafford hits Golladay deep down the left sideline for a big 28 yard gain and the first down. After offensive holding, on 1st and 20 Swift takes the reception for 13 yards to setup 2nd and 7. Adrian Peterson picks up the first with a 10 yard run. After he gains 3 on the ground on the next carry and only 2 on 2nd down, on 3rd and 5 Deion Jones comes through on the blitz and takes down Stafford for the second sack of the drive. Matt Prater comes on and punches in the 51 yard field goal.

Falcons 14, Lions 13

From their 15, the Falcons offense starts with a 9 yard pass to Gage. After Gurley gets the first on the pitch and drops the first down pass and Julio picks up 5 on 2nd down, the 3rd and 5 play is a sack of Matt Ryan by Romeo Okwara. Falcons punt.

The Lions first play is blown up by Grady Jarrett and a quick pass to Amendola picks up 3 to setup 3rd and 7. On the money down Stafford throws incomplete. Falcons force a 3 and out.

The punt puts the Falcons offense on their own 5 and Ryan and company start their drive with a nice run by Gurley for 5 yards. He then bounces off a tackle on 2nd down to pick up 15 and the first. Ryan hits Julio for 17 and another first down followed by a Gurley run for 2. On 2nd and 8, Ryan connects with Hurst for 8 yards to keep the sticks moving. After a throwaway on first down and a quick pass to Julio picks up 8, on 3rd and 2 Julio catches it again for a quick 4 yards and the first and the end of the quarter.

Falcons 14, Lions 13

Fourth quarter

From their 44, Todd Gurley runs for 2 but a holding penalty sets Atlanta back to 1st and 20. On 1st and 20, Ryan fires it down the middle and connects with Julio for 25 and another first down. After a false start sets up 1st and 15, Gurley picks up 10 on his run up the middle. On 2nd down, Gurley loses 7 yards on the run. On 3rd and 12, Ryan connects with Ridley but he’s 5 yards short of the first. The offense stays on the field but the pass to Ito Smith is batted away.

The Lions start with a run by Swift for 3 and a pass to Golladay down the right for 12 yards and the first. Stafford hits Jones for 12 and another first. After a quick pass to Jones picks up 6 and Peterson runs for 3, on 3rd and 1 Peterson loses a yard on the run and the Lions were going to punt, but a 12 players on the field penalty gives the Lions the first. After Swift runs for 1 and Stafford can’t hit the pass to Swift, on 3rd and 9 Stafford hits Golladay for an 8 yard gain. Matt Prater comes on for the 46 yard field goal but can’t punch this one in.

The Falcons offense takes the field and Ryan immediately hits Ridley for 12 and the first. After a first down run loses 3 and Gurley gets it back on 2nd down, on 3rd and 9 Ryan is sacked and fumbles it and the Lions recover.

Swift is tackled for a big loss by Dante Fowler on 1st down and on 2nd and 16 Swift takes the reception for another loss of 1 yard. On 3rd and 17 the Lions pick up 5 on the scramble by Stafford. Matt Prater comes on and punches in the 49 yard field goal to give the Lions the lead.

Falcons 14, Lions 16

From their 24with 3:09 left in the game, the Atlanta offense starts with two completions to keep the sticks moving. After Gurley takes a pass for 8 and the 2 minute warning, Ryan connects with Gage for 15 and the first down. That same connection gains another 12 yards on an out to keep the drive going. From the Lions 21, Gurley picks up 8 on the first down run. On 2nd and 2 he runs it again to setup 3rd and very short. On 3rd down, Gurley runs up the middle and picks up the first. He runs it on first down and despite trying not to score, he falls into the end zone and scores the TD. The Falcons go for 2 and convert on the pass to Ridley.

Falcons 22, Lions 16

With 1:04 left and no timeouts, the Lions offense starts from the 25 with an incomplete pass to Golladay. On 2nd down, Hockenson catches it for 10 but can’t get out of bounds. With 34 seconds left on 2nd and 10 Stafford completes it to Amendola for a big gain. With 19 seconds left after spiking it, on 2nd and 10 Stafford hits Golladay deep down the field and is upheld on the replay. With 2 seconds left, the Lions score on the TD pass to Hockenson. The extra point is good and the Lions get the last minute win.

Final: Falcons 22, Lions 23