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Falcons 20, Lions 16: Atlanta avoids a late game meltdown for their 7th win of the year

It wasn’t pretty, but the Falcons get their first (and only) win in Atlanta in 2021.

Detroit Lions v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

The Falcons have yet to win a game in Atlanta in 2021. This will be their last opportunity to do so before the calendar crosses over to 2022. Did they beat a Lions team missing their best running back and their starting QB? Read on to find out.

First quarter

After Cordarelle Patterson returns the ball to the Atlanta 20, the Falcons offense starts with Matt Ryan being sacked because life is pain. After Patterson loses one yard on the 2nd down pass, Ryan connects with Kyle Pitts for 13 yards and the first. Mike Davis picks up 3 on the ground and Ryan is sacked again for a 3 yard loss. On 3rd and 10, Ryan is sacked again for a 5 yard loss and Atlanta has to punt.

The Lions offense starts from their 38 with a pass from Tim Boyle to Josh Reynolds for 13 and the first. The short pass to Amon-Ra St. Brown goes for no gain and Json Cabinda takes the short pass for 4 yards. On 3rd and 6, Brown picks up 6 on the pass for the first. Jamaal Williams runs for 2 and St. Brown runs for 7 more. Grady Jarrett gifts the first down with a neutral zone penalty and Williams runs for 1 on first down. After the pass to Brock Wright loses 3, on 3rd and 12 the Lions get the first on the pass to St. Brown. Williams runs for 3 and again for 2 and on 3rd and 5 from the Atlanta 8, Boyle can’t connect with Reynolds. The Lions take the chip shot field goal for the early lead.

Falcons 0, Lions 3

Starting from their 25, the Atlanta offense starts with a run by Patterson for 2 and again for just 2. On 3rd and 6, Ryan’s pass to Olamide Zaccheaus is knocked away. Atlanta goes 3 and out. A fantastic punt by Thomas Morstead puts the Lions on their own 10.

The Lions drive starts with a run by Craig Reynolds for 3 and Boyle hits Cabinda for 2. On 3rd and 5, Boyle can’t connect with Reynolds and Detroit has to punt. After a nice return by Avery Williams, the Falcons take over on their 46.

The Atlanta sack-machine starts their third drive with a pass to Hayden Hurst for 9 yards and the end of the quarter.

Falcons 0, Lions 3

Second quarter

Matt Ryan starts the quarter by picking up the first on a sneak. Ryan then hits Russell Gage for 15 yards and another first. Mike Davis runs for 2 and the pass to Marvin Hall gains 10 and Atlanta has 1st and 10 from the Detroit 15. Patterson runs for 1 and Ryan hits Pitts for 8. On 3rd and 1 from the Detroit 6, Matt Ryan can’t convert on the QB sneak. Atlanta decides to go for it and Patterson takes the pitch in for the touchdown.

Falcons 7, Lions 3

After the touchback and a false start, the Lions offense picks up 14 on a big run by Jamaal Williams. Craig Reynolds runs for 5 and the first but loses 2 on the next run. Boyle then hits Reynolds through the air for 14 and the first. Williams runs for 4 and a false start sets up 2nd and 11 at the 50. Williams runs again for 6 and on 3rd and 5, Reynolds runs for 4 and is a few inches short. On 4th and 1, the Lions get flagged for a false start. Detroit then opts to punt but they go for the fake and complete a 21 yard pass to Hodge. Williams runs for 4 and the pass to Reynolds goes incomplete. On 3rd and 6 from the Atlanta 20, Boyle connects with St. Brown for the 20 yard touchdown.

Falcons 7, Lions 10

After Patterson returns the kick to the Atlanta 22, Ryan hits Zaccheaus and he takes it for a 17 yard gain and the first. Mike Davis runs for 8 and Zaccheaus takes another short pass for 15 yards and the first. Davis runs for 3 and the pass for Patterson is tipped and goes incomplete. On 3rd and 7, Ryan is pressured and has to throw it away. Younghoe Koo comes on and punches in the 53-yard field goal to tie the game.

Falcons 10, Lions 10

With a little over a minute left and the ball on their 25, the Lions start their drive with a pass to St. Brown for 8 yards and again for 6 and the first. The pass to Reynolds goes incomplete and the deep shot to Kalif Raymond is off target. On 3rd and 10 from their 39, Boyle connects with Tom Kennedy for 8 yards to setup 4th and 2. With 2 seconds left, the Lions go for the hail mary and the throw falls sadly incomplete.

At the half: Falcons 10, Lions 10

Third quarter

After the touchback, the Lions offense gets going from their 25 with a short pass to Wright for a gain of 2. After Williams runs for 5, Boyle throws incomplete targeting Reynolds deep left on a nice breakup by Richie Grant. Lions punt and pin Atlanta at their own 11.

The Falcons offense starts with a pass to Pitts for 9. Offensive holding sets up 2nd and 11, but Pitts makes up for it with an 18 yard reception and the first. Patterson runs for 2 and Pitts rings it up again with a huge 35 yard reception down the right sideline. The first down pass to Zaccheaus is knocked loose and Christian Blake picks up 5 on the short pass. On 3rd and 5 from the Detroit 30, Ryan is pressured immediately and the pass falls incomplete. Koo comes on and punches in the 48 yarder.

Falcons 13, Lions 10

From their 25, the Lions get going with a 10 yard run by Williams for the first. He runs again for just 2 yards and the pass to Raymond picks up 6. On 3rd and 2, Reynolds runs for 3 and converts. The pass to Craig Reynolds picks up 4 and Williams runs for 1. On 3rd and 5 from the Atlanta 49, St. Brown takes the handoff for 12 and the first. Boyle hits St. Brown for 24 and sets up 1st and 10 on the Atlanta 13. After a false start, Reynolds runs for 2 and another false start makes it 2nd and 18. Williams runs for 2 and on 3rd and 16 the pass from Boyle goes incomplete. The Lions take the short field goal to tie up the game.

Falcons 13, Lions 13

After a nice return by Patterson brings it out to the 29, the Atlanta offense starts with a nice 9 yard run by Mike Davis. Ryan picks up the first on the sneak. The pass to Mike Davis gains 7 and Davis runs again for 3 to convert. Russell Gage drops the first down pass but he pulls it in on 2nd down for 13 and the first down as we head to the final quarter.

Falcons 13, Lions 13

Fourth quarter

Ryan kicks off the quarter with a 7 yard pass to Gage on 1st down. Patterson loses 2 on the ground and on 3rd and 5 from the Detroit 31, Ryan hits Pitts for a big 19 yard gain to setup 1st and 10 from the Detroit 12. Ryan finishes the drive with a touchdown pass to Hayden Hurst.

Falcons 20, Lions 13

After the kickoff return puts them on their 26, the Lions offense starts with a 2 yard pass to Kalif Raymond. Boyle then hits Josh Reynolds for 23 yards and the first. Williams runs it for 7 and again for 2 to setup 3rd and 1 from the Atlanta 40. Williams converts on the 3 yard run. After a false start, Boyle connects with St. Brown for 5 and Craig Reynolds runs for 4 to setup 3rd and 6. Reynolds runs for 5 and it’s 4th and 1 from the Atlanta 28. Williams runs for 2 and converts. Raymond runs for 5 and Deion Jones breaks up the 2nd down pass to C. Reynolds. The 3rd down pass to C. Reynolds picks up 4 and it’s 4th and 1 again. The drive stays alive on a 4 yard pass to Raymond. Williams runs for no gain and the second down pass to St. Brown picks up 8. On 3rd and 2 from the Atlanta 5, Craig Reynolds is stopped for a 3 yard loss. The Lions take the short field goal to close the gap.

Falcons 20, Lions 16

After the touchback with 2:38 left on the clock, the Falcons offense starts with a 3 yard run by Cordarelle Patterson. Mike Davis then runs for no gain. On 3rd and 7, Ryan connects with Gage who appeared to get the first, but he fumbles the ball and it’s recovered by Detroit.

With the ball on the Atlanta 33, the Lions start with a 4 yard run by Reynolds as we hit the two minute warning. He runs again for 4 more and on 3rd and 2 from the ATL 29, Boyle hits Wright for 5 to keep the drive alive. Williams runs for 7 to take it to the ATL 17 and Boyle hits Kennedy for 8 and the first. With 39 seconds left on the ATL 9, Foye Oluokun closes out the game with a game clinching interception!

Final: Falcons 20, Lions 16