Atlanta Falcons vs. Detroit Lions

ATL
30
DET
26
FINAL
1234T
ATL 7133730
DET 01310326

Game Information
Location: Ford Field Detroit, Michigan
Attendance: 63,240

DETROIT (AP) The Atlanta Falcons escaped Detroit, holding on for a win thanks in part to an NFL rule that went in their favor.

Matthew Stafford's pass to Golden Tate was ruled to be just short of the end zone in the final seconds after a review, allowing Atlanta to beat the Lions 30-26 on Sunday.

The call on the field was touchdown when Stafford connected with Tate on a slant from the 1 with 8 seconds left, but it was overturned because the receiver was down before the football reached the goal line. By rule, 10 seconds had to run off the clock and that ended the game because Detroit didn't have any timeouts.

"Had the call on the field been correct initially, the clock would have run out," FOX analyst Dean Blandino, an ex-NFL officiating chief, explained in a tweet: "That's the spirit of the rule."

Lions coach Jim Caldwell agreed that the call was made correctly and the rule was applied properly. He added, though, that Stafford could have taken another snap if the call on the field was made correctly initially that Tate was down inside the 1.

"Certainly," Caldwell said. "We practice it all the time."

Cornerback Desmond Trufant, who extended Detroit's last drive with two penalties, was unaware of the rule that proved to be favorable for the Falcons.

"I thought we were going to have to play another down," Trufant acknowledged.

The defending NFC champion Falcons (3-0) overcame Matt Ryan's three interceptions and many other mistakes.

Trufant was called for pass interference in the end zone on a third-and-10 from the Atlanta 19, giving the Lions a first down at the 1 with 19 seconds left. Trufant was flagged for holding on a second-and-30 from the Falcons 38 earlier in the drive, allowing Detroit pick up a first down.

Detroit (2-1) never led in the game, and failed to pull off another comeback in the fourth quarter.

"I wish I could've gotten us in," Stafford said. "It's kind of what I do, and didn't get it done."

END OF A STREAK

Ryan hadn't thrown an interception in nine games, including three games during the last postseason, before getting picked off three times at Ford Field. Safety Glover Quin stepped in front of one pass and returned it 37 yards for a score in the second quarter, cutting Atlanta's lead to 17-13. His other two interceptions were deflected, one through Mohamed Sanu's hands. Ryan finished 24 of 35 for 294 yards with a tiebreaking, 40-yard TD pass to Taylor Gabriel early in the fourth on a screen and a 4-yard strike to Sanu early in the game.

RUNNING FREE

Devonta Freeman scored on a 1-yard run to put Atlanta up 17-3 in the second quarter and finished with 106 yards rushing - 35 more than Detroit's entire team had on the ground.

BY THE NUMBERS

Stafford was 25 of 45, missing some targets and having Eric Ebron drop two, for 264 yards and an 11-yard TD pass to Tate in the third quarter that cut Atlanta's lead to 23-20. Ameer Abdullah had 14 carries for 47 yards after running for 86 yards Monday night in a win over the New York Giants. Detroit's Darius Slay picked off two deflected passes, matching his total number of interceptions in each of the previous three seasons.

TAKING A KNEE

Detroiter Rico Lavelle, who sang the anthem, added a new layer to pregame protests around the league. Just before finishing the song and belting out "brave," Lavelle went down on his right knee, bowed his head and raised his right fist wrapped around the microphone. Eight Lions and two Falcons also took a knee on the sideline as owners for both teams locked arms with players and coaches.

INJURIES

Falcons: Atlanta was without three starters: defensive end Vic Beasley (hamstring), defensive end Courtney Upshaw (knee/ankle) and Ryan Schraeder (concussion). The Falcons appeared to miss Schraeder in particular because his replacement, Ty Sambrailo, gave up two sacks in the first half.

Lions: Detroit was also missing a trio of first-string players: linebacker Jarrad Davis (concussion), safety Tavon Wilson (shoulder) and center Travis Swanson (ankle). Lions defensive end Anthony Zettel left the game with an injured right knee, but was able to return.

UP NEXT

Falcons: Host Buffalo next Sunday.

Lions: Play at Minnesota next Sunday.

---

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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1st Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Falcons Lions
08:17 Mohamed Sanu 4 yd pass from Matt Ryan (Matt Bryant kick) 7 0

2nd Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Falcons Lions
12:51 Matt Bryant 36 yd FG 10 0
10:27 Matt Prater 55 yd FG 10 3
05:00 Devonta Freeman 1 yd run (Matt Bryant kick) 17 3
01:50 Matt Prater 40 yd FG 17 6
01:41 Glover Quin 37 yd interception return (Matt Prater kick) 17 13
00:31 Matt Bryant 48 yd FG 20 13

3rd Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Falcons Lions
11:37 Matt Bryant 40 yd FG 23 13
04:51 Golden Tate 11 yd pass from Matthew Stafford (Matt Prater kick) 23 20
01:24 Matt Prater 35 yd FG 23 23

4th Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Falcons Lions
14:50 Taylor Gabriel 40 yd pass from Matt Ryan (Matt Bryant kick) 30 23
11:48 Matt Prater 57 yd FG 30 26

Team Stats
  Atlanta Detroit
1st Downs 26 21
Total Yards 428 324
Passing 277 253
Passing Completions/Attempts 24-35 25-45
Yards/Pass 7.5 5.4
Rushing 151 71
Rushing Attempts 28 19
Yards/Rush 5.4 3.7
Turnovers 3 0
Fumbles Lost 0 0
Interceptions Thrown 3 0
Possession 32:35 27:25

Atlanta Passing
Player CP ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Matt Ryan 24 35 294 8.4 2 3

Detroit Passing
Player CP ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Matthew Stafford 25 45 264 5.9 1 0

Atlanta Rushing
Player ATT YDS AVG TD LG
Devonta Freeman 21 106 5.0 1 18
Tevin Coleman 6 46 7.7 0 14
Matt Ryan 1 -1 -1.0 0 -1

Detroit Rushing
Player ATT YDS AVG TD LG
Ameer Abdullah 14 47 3.4 0 11
Matthew Stafford 2 19 9.5 0 11
Zach Zenner 3 5 1.7 0 3

Atlanta Receiving
Player REC YDS AVG TD LG
Julio Jones 7 91 13.0 0 18
Taylor Gabriel 5 79 15.8 1 40
Tevin Coleman 3 43 14.3 0 27
Devonta Freeman 3 32 10.7 0 18
Mohamed Sanu 4 28 7.0 1 12
Andre Roberts 1 12 12.0 0 12
Austin Hooper 1 9 9.0 0 9

Detroit Receiving
Player REC YDS AVG TD LG
TJ Jones 3 63 21.0 0 29
Golden Tate 7 58 8.3 1 18
Ameer Abdullah 3 39 13.0 0 22
Theo Riddick 4 38 9.5 0 16
Kenny Golladay 2 25 12.5 0 13
Marvin Jones Jr. 3 24 8.0 0 12
Eric Ebron 2 9 4.5 0 8
Darren Fells 1 8 8.0 0 8

Atlanta Defense
Player TACKLES ASST SACKS SACK YDS
Brian Poole 7 2 0 0
Robert Alford 6 0 0 0
Deion Jones 6 1 0 0
Grady Jarrett 4 0 0 0
Keanu Neal 4 1 0 0
Adrian Clayborn 2 0 1 8
Takkarist McKinley 2 0 1 3
Ricardo Allen 2 1 0 0
De'Vondre Campbell 2 1 0 0
Brooks Reed 2 0 0 0
Desmond Trufant 2 0 0 0
Derrick Shelby 1 0 0 0
Derrick Coleman 0 0 0 0
Jack Crawford 0 1 0 0
Taylor Gabriel 0 0 0 0
Austin Hooper 0 0 0 0
Sharrod Neasman 0 0 0 0
Joe Vellano 0 1 0 0

Detroit Defense
Player TACKLES ASST SACKS SACK YDS
Miles Killebrew 7 1 0 0
Tahir Whitehead 7 0 0 0
Glover Quin 5 3 0 0
Darius Slay 5 0 0 0
Paul Worrilow 4 0 0 0
DJ Hayden 3 2 0 0
Haloti Ngata 3 0 0 0
Nick Bellore 2 0 0 0
Nevin Lawson 2 0 0 0
A'Shawn Robinson 2 1 0 0
Charles Washington 2 0 0 0
Anthony Zettel 1 0 1 11
Jeremiah Valoaga 1 0 1 6
Quandre Diggs 1 0 0 0
Jeremiah Ledbetter 1 0 0 0
Cornelius Washington 1 1 0 0
Jared Abbrederis 0 0 0 0
George Johnson 0 0 0 0
Akeem Spence 0 0 0 0

Atlanta Interceptions
Player INT YDS TD
No interceptions.

Detroit Interceptions
Player INT YDS TD
Darius Slay 2 52 0
Glover Quin 1 37 1

Atlanta Kick Returns
Player KR YDS AVG TD LNG
Andre Roberts 2 54 27.0 0 38

Detroit Kick Returns
Player KR YDS AVG TD LNG
Jamal Agnew 1 11 11.0 0 11

Atlanta Punt Returns
Player PR YDS AVG TD LNG
Andre Roberts 2 38 19.0 0 27

Detroit Punt Returns
Player PR YDS AVG TD LNG
Golden Tate 1 10 10.0 0 10

Atlanta Kicking
Player FGM FGA PCT LG
Matt Bryant 3 3 100.0 48

Detroit Kicking
Player FGM FGA PCT LG
Matt Prater 4 4 100.0 57

Atlanta Punting
Player PUNTS YDS LG
Matt Bosher 2 91 48

Detroit Punting
Player PUNTS YDS LG
Jeff Locke 5 239 52