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.