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Whelp, the Detroit Lions falling behind going into the second half came back to bite them this week against the Atlanta Falcons. Despite outscoring the Falcons 10-6 in the second half, the Lions' 17-6 halftime deficit was too much today, as the Lions dropped their second straight game by a score of 23-16.
Of course, the Lions had plenty of opportunities in the second half to take the lead or tie, but too many mistakes down the stretch proved costly.
The Lions started the fourth quarter by going three-and-out on their first two possessions. In between, the Falcons were bailed out on their first possession when Louis Delmas was called for holding, canceling the Falcons' failed fourth and two that would've given the ball back to the Lions down 20-16. Instead, it allowed the Falcons to continue their drive, take time off the clock, and ultimately add three more points.
The Lions' third and final possession of the fourth quarter started on their own 13 yard line. They were moving the ball fairly well, but a holding penalty negated a 17 yard passing play to Tony Scheffler and Nate Burleson dropped a wide open pass on the final set of downs.
Even with the drop and holding penalty, it looked like the Lions were going to have a first down at the Falcons' 26 yard line thanks to a pass interference on the Falcons, but it was reviewed and overturned because the ball was tipped prior to Scheffler being interfered with. By rule, once the ball is tipped, Scheffler is allowed to be hit, so instead of first down at the Falcons' 26, the Lions faced fourth down at the 41 yard line. Not surprisingly, fourth down broke down pretty early, as most of the Lions' offensive plays did today, Stafford scrambled to his left and threw across his body to Brandon Pettigrew, who couldn't coral it in.
To boot, a Falcons defender fell on Stafford's right leg awkwardly and Stafford was seen limping pretty badly off of the field.
The Lions did have a chance to get the ball back with about a minute remaining, but horrible tackling on Jacquizz Rodgers on a third-and-four allowed him to stumble forward for the first down. Matty Ice iced the rest by taking a knee.
The Lions had 263 total yards of offense and were just 1-for-12 on third down conversions. Matthew Stafford was 15-of-32 for 183 yards and a touchdown, good for a 75.4 passing rating. Calvin Johnson had five catches for 115 yards and a touchdown.
As bad as the Detroit Lions' loss to the Atlanta Falcons was, the more worrisome thing going forward is what happened on the Lions' final offensive play of the game. On fourth down, Matthew Stafford scrambled out to the left to avoid the pressure and had his leg rolled on after he went down. It's unclear if he injured his ankle, foot or knee, but Stafford limped off the field.
The Lions didn't get the ball back, so it's not clear if he would have been able to return or not. While the Falcons were running out the clock, though, Stafford was being looked at by trainers. It looked like they might have been taping his ankle, which appeared to be rolled on by a Falcons defender. Stafford is reportedly going to get an X-ray to see what exactly is wrong.
It's obviously much too early to speculate about his status for next week, but it's worth noting the Lions play a 2-4 Denver Broncos team before having a bye week. If this is something minor but the Lions don't want to risk playing Stafford next week, they might be able to get away with keeping him out until after the bye week.
The third quarter didn't start out much better for the Lions offense, though, as they had to punt three plays after picking up a first down. After the defense forced another three-and-out from the Falcons, the Lions got the ball in Falcons' territory.
The Lions drove all the way down to the Falcons' six yard line, but they couldn't punch it in. Stafford was sacked ten yards back on third down, which forced another field goal attempt for Jason Hanson. The first attempt from Hanson was blocked, but luckily the Falcons were offsides, so he got another shot to kick it through, which he did, of course, to make the score 17-9.
The Falcons answered by adding a field goal of their own, thanks in part to Matt Ryan coming back from his injury and completing his first pass to Harry Douglas for 49 yards, to extend the lead back to 11.
On the Lions' next possession, they finally connected on a big play. After three runs and a short pass, Stafford found Calvin Johnson for nine yards and then the big 57 yard touchdown. The play was a fake double reverse that got the Falcons' defensive backs to bite. Stafford fired a perfect strike to Johnson, who was able to stiff arm away from the only threat in bringing him down and run it the rest of the way for the score.
The Lions opted to go for one and trail 20-16 after three quarters.
The Lions forced the Falcons into a pair of three-and-outs to start the second half, hoping to aid the Lions into another second half comeback win. On the final play before the Falcons punted a second time, Falcons' quarterback Matt Ryan was sacked and had his foot stepped on by one of his offensive lineman.
Warning, it's not for the faint of heart:
Although the ankle took a wrong turn, the Falcons were saying it's a knee injury and his return was questionable at first. Chris Redman took the field for the Falcons' next possession after the Lions kicked another field goal, but in the middle of it, Ryan jogged back to the sideline and then actually came back into the game for third down. On his first play testing the knee, Ryan completed a 49 yard pass to Harry Douglas. The Falcons ultimately kicked a field goal to extend their lead to 20-9.
Matt Ryan is 12-of-23 for 164 yards, a touchdown, and an interception.
Lions started the second quarter a lot better than they started the first quarter, because they actually gained a yard. 89 yards to be exact in all in the quarter after having negative one yard in the first quarter.
After the Lions took the kickoff after the Falcons go-ahead touchdown at the end of the first quarter to their own 30, Detroit put together a nine play, four minute drive to start the second quarter. Unfortunately, on third down in Falcons' territory, Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Titus Young were not on the same page with the route that Young was supposed to run and Stafford was nearly picked off in the end zone while Young stood around the 10 yard line. Jason Hanson cut the deficit to four points with his second field goal of the game.
After a couple rather uneventful drives from both teams, the Falcons went into the no-huddle offense at the end of the quarter and marched right down the field, capping it off with a Matt Ryan touchdown pass to Roddy White from 18 yards out.
At the half, the Lions have five first downs compared to the Falcons' 13. Matthew Stafford is 5-of-11 for 47 yards. Calvin Johnson has just one catch for 25 yards.
The Falcons will get the ball to start the third quarter.
The intensity from the pre-game has carried over into the game, with both teams putting a lot of pressure on the quarterbacks, resulting in sacks and bad throws. Apparently Stan Kwan came back during the pre-game, too, as you'll notice while reading through this 1st quarter recap.
The Lions started the game with their patented three-and-out on their first possession, before the Lions crowd started to create problems for the third week in a row. After the Falcons committed a false start that could be attributed to how deafening loud the crowd was, Falcons' quarterback Matt Ryan was intercepted by Eric Wright. (Seriously, why don't the Lions stop taking the ball when they win the toss and go with the defense first? Especially at home.)
Anyway, Wright returned the pick to the Falcons 20 yard line, but the Lions were immediately pushed back 14 yards on two plays, thanks to two easy sacks on Lions' quarterback Matthew Stafford. After a dump off to Maurice Morris on third-and-forever, Jason Hanson knocked one through the uprights for an early 3-0 Lions lead.
Ndamukong Suh started a pair of three-and-outs from both teams by poking Ryan in the eye (for a personal foul) before Eric Weems returned a Lions punt 37 yards to the Lions 26.
The Falcons proceeded to pick up one first down, but ultimately couldn't pick up a 3rd-and-inches, so they kicked a field goal to tie it, 3-3.
On the ensuing kickoff (which is synonymous with 'bad news' for the Lions today), Logan fumbled and it was recovered by the Falcons at the Lions' 28 yard line. After a holding penalty, the Falcons picked up eight yards on 1st down and got another 1st down by picking up a 3rd-and-12. On 2nd down of the new set of downs, Bobby Carpenter got called for pass interference in the end zone, giving the ball to the Falcons at the Lions' one yard line. A couple more Lions' penalties ultimately gave the Falcons a chance from the quarter yard line and an easy QB sneak in for Matt Ryan for the touchdown.
10-3 Falcons after one quarter.
Right around where the handshake problems happened at Ford Field last week is where the Lions and Falcons got into a little bit of a shouting match before this Sunday's game. It apparently started as friendly trash talking, but then it got a little testy:
It should be no surprise that Dominic Raiola was in the middle of it. It looked about as serious as McCosky's tweet suggests, but the refs did have to get between the two teams to make sure that it didn't escalate. According to Freep's David Birkett, it started when both teams picked the same corner of the same end zone to do their pre-game break down.
The Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons have announced their inactives for Sunday's game. For the Lions, guys like Jahvid Best and Rashied Davis, who were doubtful to play, are inactive. Julio Jones is inactive for the Falcons, but that is no surprise, either.
Here's the full list:
QB Drew Stanton
RB Jahvid Best
OT Jason Fox
DE Willie Young
WR Julio Jones
OT Sam Baker
CB Chris Owens
CB Darrin Walls
The one surprise for the Lions is Young. He wasn't on the injury report until Friday, when he was limited in practice because of a calf injury. Nobody was really expecting him to miss Sunday's game, but he is out because of the injury. Although this isn't an enormous loss considering how deep the Lions are on the D-line, Young has played well this season and has become a regular in the rotation, so other players will have to step it up in his absence.
The last time the Detroit Lions played the Atlanta Falcons was in 2008. Matt Ryan was a rookie making his NFL debut and the Lions were still Matt Millen's Lions. Ryan completed an 80-yard pass on his first NFL pass attempt, Michael Turner ran for over two lengths of the football field, and the Lions lost their first of a record 16 regular season games.
A mere three years later, the Lions are one of the NFL's best teams at 5-1 and the Falcons are just 3-3, having beaten nobody with a winning record thus far. On Sunday at Ford Field, the two will square off in a game that could ultimately have huge NFC playoff implications.
Game Date/Time: Sunday, October 23; 1:00 PM EST
Location: Ford Field; Detroit, Michigan
TV Schedule: Regional FOX TV
Distribution Map: The506.com
TV Announcers: Dick Stockton, John Lynch
Radio Schedule: Lions 97.1 FM The Ticket; Falcons 94.1 FM Atlanta
Jahvid Best's concussion opens up questions about the Lions' running game. Will Maurice Morris be productive enough, like he was at the end of last year, to be worthy of a fantasy play?
The Detroit Lions have a rather difficult task this weekend when the Atlanta Falcons travel to Michigan for a game against Matt Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Co. Unfortunately, according to the final injury report of the week, the Lions will be without star running back Jahvid Best.
Best has been dealing with concussion symptoms since a hit he took in the preseason and, after suffering a second hit to the head during last week's game, the second-year pro will miss this weekend's game as he works to recover from the injury. Best is just one of two players that didn't practice at all for the Lions this week.
As far as other injuries for the Falcons game are concerned, Rashied Davis and Vincent Fuller are both listed as doubtful, Aaron Berry is questionable and Gosder Cherilus, Justin Durant, Chris Houston, Tony Scheffler and Doug Hogue are all probable to play this weekend.
As far as impact players for the Falcons are concerned, cornerback Christopher Owens is out, wide receiver Julio Jones is doubtful and John Abraham is questionable. Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez and Jonathan Babineaux are all probable to play this weekend.
Coming off of their first loss of the season the Detroit Lions are still liked by the oddsmakers in Vegas. The Atlanta Falcons come to Ford Field this week with both teams fighting to stay alive in the NFC wild card race. For the Lions, they are trying to keep pace with the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North, while the Falcons already trail the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC South. SB Nation's odds partner Odds Shark currently favors the Lions by 3.5 points:
Atlanta heads to Detroit in need of a victory and looking to dump a second straight loss on the Lions.And if recent trends involving the Falcons before their bye week hold up, this will be an Atlanta cover.
The Falcons opened as 4.5 point underdogs, but they have already gained a point over the course of the week. News of Jahvid Best missing the game with concussion issues and Jerome Harrison's unexpected brain tumor likely made the line closer.
The Detroit Lions injury report came out on Thursday and there were not any surprises, but it did confirm that both Jahvid Best and Jerome Harrison didn't practice due to injury. Best was out with a concussion, as everyone should be well aware, while the team listed Harrison out due to "illness."
The Harrison issue is much more complex than a simple illness, one would think, but that's apparently how the brain tumor is going to be described going forward on the team's injury reports. As if it wasn't clear from the outset, by the way, it seems that Harrison will miss the remainder of the season while being treated.
The other significant injury update from Thursday's practice report comes in the form of Tony Scheffler. Scheffler was a limited participant in practice on Thursday after missing Wednesday's practice as he recovers from a concussion due to the hit from Brian Urlacher on Monday Night Football a couple of weeks ago.
The only other player that didn't practice at all on Thursday was wide receiver Rashied Davis as he continues to recover from a foot injury. Aaron Berry (groin), Justin Durant (concussion), Vincent Fuller (elbow), Chris Houston (back) and Gosder Cherilus (knee) were all partial participants in practice.
On Wednesday, the Detroit Lions signed running back James Davis to their practice squad, perhaps with the intent of bringing him to the active roster before Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons, what with the fact that the Jerome Harrison trade fell through and Jahvid Best suffering a concussion. To make room for Davis, they released tight end Nate Overbay, but it looks like Davis isn't going to make it to the roster after all, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press:
RB James Davis, signed yesterday, is on Lions practice squad injured list. They re-sign Matt Clapp
The Lions just can't catch a break at this point. With Davis injured, the team is likely going to work out some veteran running backs to try and get somebody - almost anybody at this point - to come in and back up Maurice Morris, if he does indeed need to get the start on Sunday.
With the Lions trying to rebound from their first loss in 10 months the early action in Vegas has them as 3.5 point favorite over the Atlanta Falcons. They are one of several home favorites this week according to the current following odds coming out of Las Vegas for week 7 in the NFL:
|Date & Time||Favorite||Spread||Underdog||Total||Money Odds|
|10/23 1:00 ET||
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
|10/23 1:00 ET||At Carolina Panthers
|10/23 1:00 ET||
San Diego Chargers
|| -2||At NY Jets||43.5||-$130 +$110|
|10/23 1:00 ET||At Cleveland Browns
|10/23 1:00 ET||At Tennessee Titans
|10/23 1:00 ET||At Miami Dolphins
|10/23 1:00 ET||At Detroit Lions
|10/23 4:05 ET||At Oakland Raiders
Kansas City Chiefs
|10/23 4:05 ET||
||-3.5||At Arizona Cardinals
|10/23 4:15 ET||At Dallas Cowboys
St. Louis Rams
|10/23 4:15 ET||
Green Bay Packers
||-9||At Minnesota Vikings
|10/23 8:30 ET||At New Orleans Saints
Monday Night Football Odds
|10/24 8:35 ET||
||-7.5||At Jacksonville Jaguars
The Detroit Lions issued their first injury report of the week on Wednesday in anticipation of Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons. There wasn't anything in the way of surprises, but it confirmed that Jahvid Best and Tony Scheffler both sat out as their concussion systems continue to linger.
Best, the team's starting running back, suffered his concussion during this past weekend's game with the San Francisco 49ers. In all reality, he should have been pulled during the game, but the concussion systems apparently didn't surface until after the game was complete. Unfortunately, it's his second concussion in as many months -- though Jim Schwartz has yet to rule his running back out for this weekend.
Scheffler is expected to probably miss this weekend, and maybe a couple of games after that, due to the concussion he suffered from Brian Urlacher on Monday Night Football.
The remaining players listed on the injury report that were held out due to injury include Aaron Berry (groin), Rashied Davis (foot), Justin Durant (concussion), Vincent Fuller (elbow) and Chris Houston (back). Gosder Cherilus was a limited participant due to his knee injury while Doug Hogue was listed with a hamstring injury, though he wasn't forced to miss any practice.
Last year, the Detroit Lions sold out seven of their eight home games, despite being a lower-middle of the pack team. That doesn't necessarily mean that they'd sellout less of their games this year if they failed to perform, but it certainly wasn't going to help. Thankfully, the team is 5-1 and looking great right now, trailing the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North by just one game.
#Lions announce that Sunday's game vs. Atlanta has reached a sellout and will air live in the local television markets.
The Lions have now sold out all four of their home games thus far this year, and have put up higher attendance records in their last two outings than they did for any game in the past three seasons, a sure sign of a team on the upswing.
Ronnie Brown is excited to be playing for the Detroit Lions (and who can blame him, with the way the Philadelphia Eagles have looked this year?), but he'll have to wait at least another day to practice with the team. Detroit traded for Brown in a move that was announced just before Tuesday's NFL trade deadline by sending running back Jerome Harrison and a 2013 draft pick to the Eagles.
Still apparently waiting for the trade to be official and complete in every way, Brown was not on the practice field on Wednesday, which led to Maurice Morris getting the bulk of the reps as Jahvid Best is out with a concussion. Brown is expected to contribute in short-yardage situations and would likely end up taking over the backup role, but with the trade coming on Tuesday and him being unable to practice on Wednesday, it will likely be a role he has to grow into.
The fact that he has to learn a mostly-new offense is something to consider as well. It's mostly-new because Scott Linehan was Brown's offensive coordinator during his rookie year, but that was some time ago and it's probably not all-that similar anymore.
While Lions running back Jahvid Best hasn't been ruled out for Sunday's game, it's looking more and more unlikely that his second concussion in three months (and second of three known overall) is going to keep him out. On Wednesday, he sat out of practice while recovering from the injury sustained last Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers.
Best has been a key part of the Lions offense this season, he just hasn't been doing what's expected of him as often as they'd like, so while losing Best is something the team certainly doesn't want, it's not something that they can't recover from. He did start to put together some good games and even had a big play or two against the 49ers, but the team does feel confident in backup Maurice Morris and the recently-acquired Ronnie Brown.
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