Final

Falcons 23

(4-3, 2-2 away)

Lions 16

(5-2, 2-2 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, October 23, 2011

Ford Field, Detroit, MI 

1 2 3 4 T
ATL 10 7 3 323
DET 3 3 10 016

Top Performers

Passing: M. Ryan (ATL) - 218 YDS, 1 TD, 2 INT

Rushing: M. Turner (ATL) - 27 CAR, 122 YDS

Receiving: C. Johnson (DET) - 5 REC, 115 YDS, 1 TD

Falcons hold off suddenly-sliding Lions as Matthew Stafford suffers leg injury

Associated Press

DETROIT -- The Falcons might've found their groove in Motown.

Matt Ryan ran and threw for touchdowns to give Atlanta a double-digit lead in the first half, and the Falcons held on to win 23-16 in Detroit on Sunday.

The defending NFC South champion-Falcons (4-3) won consecutive games for the first time this season because they finally played well in all three phases on the same day.

"Good teams go on streaks," Atlanta coach Mike smith said. "You can't just keep yo-yoing up and down."

The Lions (5-2) have lost their luster with two straight losses -- both at home -- after their perfect start. Their formerly fired-up fans have started to boo, moan and groan.

"We don't deserve their cheers if we're going to play like that," Lions guard Rob Sims said. "It's just that simple."

The Lions had a chance to get Ford Field back on their side.

But on Detroit's final drive, a pass-interference penalty against Atlanta was overturned because instant replay showed defensive tackle Corey Peters had slightly grazed the ball.

"I didn't see the tip, but the guys in the booth were in my ear about it right away," Smith said. "With less than 2 minutes, we had to rely on the officials, but they did a great job. They didn't let the Lions snap the ball, so the replay official could get a good look, and they made the right call."

Instead of having the ball at the Falcons 26, the Lions were backed up to the 41 and Matthew Stafford threw an incomplete pass on the next play to turn it over on downs and injured his right ankle, knee -- or both.

"To tell the truth I can't really tell right now," Stafford said.

Stafford said he was going to try and play if Detroit's defense got the ball back, but the Falcons made that a moot point by picking up a first down and running out the clock.

Ryan's 1-yard plunge and 18-yard pass to Roddy White put Atlanta ahead 17-6 at halftime.

Calvin Johnson caught his 10th touchdown pass late in the third quarter -- to pull Detroit within four points -- and finished with five receptions for 115 yards.

Matt Bryant's third field goal gave the Falcons a seven-point lead midway through the fourth quarter on a drive extended when safety Louis Delmas was called for holding on fourth down.

The Lions, who struggled against Atlanta's aggressive defense all day, had the ball at their 13 with 3:20 to go and three timeouts left with a chance to send the game into overtime.

Stafford converted a fourth down with a pass to Brandon Pettigrew, and a personal foul against Atlanta left the Lions 41 yards away from the end zone. They wouldn't get any closer.

Detroit didn't get another chance to come back because it couldn't tackle rookie running back Jacquizz Rodgers on third-and-4 near midfield.

Lions coach Jim Schwartz and Smith met at midfield after the game in traditional fashion a week after Schwartz had to be separated from San Francisco's Jim Harbaugh in a charged scene.

Ryan was 20 of 34 for 218 yards with a TD and two interceptions and scored on a 1-yard plunge to break a 3-all tie late in the first quarter. He left the game briefly when teammate Will Svitek stepped on his left ankle, tweaking his knee.

"It hurt, but I don't think it was bad as it must have looked on television," Ryan said.

Atlanta's Tony Gonzalez caught five passes for 62 yards, giving him 1,104 career receptions to trail only Jerry Rice in NFL history -- by 445 catches.

"Trust me, Jerry Rice will never be caught," the 35-year-old Gonzalez said. "I'm very happy with second place."

Michael Turner ran 27 times -- including a 50-yard gain -- and finished with 122 yards rushing for the Falcons.

Stafford was 15 of 32 for 183 yards and a TD against consistent pressure, getting sacked three times and hurried after several more snaps.

"I was very pleased with the way we made it hectic and chaotic for the quarterback," Smith said.

Detroit's Maurice Morris and Keiland Williams combined for 94 yards on 18 carries, filling in for Jahvid Best, who was out with a concussion.

The Lions struggled on special teams. They gave up long returns -- one of which went for a score but was negated by penalty -- and Stefan Logan fumbled on a kickoff to set up Ryan's TD run.

Schwartz said Detroit couldn't overcome missed opportunities on offense, defense and special teams against the Falcons.

"They were 13-3 last year and they're going to be a good team again this year," he said.

Game notes


Gonzalez moved past Carter (1,101) and Harrison (1,102). ... Scheffler and Lions LB Justin Durant played after being out with concussions and Lions CB Chris Houston aggravated his back injury. ... Atlanta WR Julio Jones (left hamstring) and LT Sam Baker (lower back) were inactive. ... Johnson has the most TD receptions (10) through the first seven games of a season since Randy Moss had as many with New England in 2007 and is one short of the total Elroy Hirsch had with the Rams in 1951 and Frank Clarke in 1962 with the Cowboys, according to STATS LLC.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
ATL
DET
1st Downs2213
Passing 1st downs
118
Rushing 1st downs
44
1st downs from Penalties
71
3rd down efficiency
7-171-12
4th down efficiency
0-01-2
Total Plays6955
Total Yards328263
Yards per play4.84.8
Total Drives1412
Passing199159
Comp - Att
20-3515-32
Yards per pass
5.75.0
Interceptions thrown
20
Sacks - Yards Lost
3-193-24
Rushing129104
Rushing Attempts
3120
Yards per rush
4.25.2
Red Zone (Made-Att)2-50-2
Penalties11-8010-84
Turnovers21
Fumbles lost
01
Interceptions thrown
20
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession34:5725:03

Passing Leaders

ATLC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Ryan20/342186.4123-19
Redman0/100.0000-0
DETC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Stafford15/321835.7103-24

Rushing Leaders

ATLCARYDSAVGTDLG
Turner271224.5050
Rodgers155.005
DETCARYDSAVGTDLG
Morris9505.6031
Williams9444.9018

Receiving Leaders

ATLRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Gonzalez56212.40308
Douglas46215.50497
DETRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Johnson511523.015711
Pettigrew4317.8096

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERATLDET
detFG10:26Jason Hanson 43 Yd 03
atlFG03:01Matt Bryant 23 Yd 33
atlTD00:04Matt Ryan 1 Yd Run (Matt Bryant Kick) 103
SECOND QUARTERATLDET
detFG10:52Jason Hanson 38 Yd 106
atlTD00:25Roddy White 18 Yd Pass From Matt Ryan (Matt Bryant Kick) 176
THIRD QUARTERATLDET
detFG07:37Jason Hanson 29 Yd 179
atlFG05:04Matt Bryant 47 Yd 209
detTD01:57Calvin Johnson 57 Yd Pass From Matthew Stafford (Jason Hanson Kick) 2016
FOURTH QUARTERATLDET
atlFG08:41Matt Bryant 40 Yd 2316

Research Notes

TurnerThe Lions shut down Michael Turner when they stacked eight defenders in the box, but he was able to gain the majority of his yards when Detroit shifted its defenders to the secondary.

  [+]
The Lions had -1 total yards after the 1st quarter. That's not even a season-low for the Lions in the 1st quarter. In Week 3 at Minnesota, the Lions had -7 total yards after the 1st quarter.

ESPN Stats & Information