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Tuesday, 26 September 2017 10:12

Falcons remain unbeaten after thrilling finish against Lions

Written by  Gary Sikes
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In a battle of 2-0 teams, the Atlanta Falcons traveled to Detroit to face the Lions in a pairing that turned out to be as good as the billing. Despite Atlanta scoring first and never trailing over the first 59 minutes of the game, the outcome remained in question until the final eight seconds.

 

The Atlanta offense was at times brilliant, like the opening drive that saw WR Mohamed Sanu put the Falcons on the board early with a great effort on a Matt Ryan pass that steaked the Birds to an early advantage, but not so much at other times, like turnovers.

 

However, the defense remained solid despite the absence of Vic Beasley. Great plays are made by great players and Atlanta had plenty of both. Everyone that took the field contributed in the hard-fought win, including outstanding efforts by the special teams.

 

The rest of the game was a back and forth between Atlanta quarterback Ryan and Detroit, and former UGA QB, Matthew Stafford. Skipping ahead to the fourth quarter, Matty Ice tossed one in the direction of Taylor Gabriel for a forty-yard TD catch that put Atlanta up 30-23. The Lions cut their deficit to four after a 57-yard field goal by Matt Prater. 

 

Detroit had the final possession of the game and moved the ball inside the 10-yard line, but the last play of the game saw the Falcon defense stop Golden Tate just short of the end zone with just eight ticks of the clock remaining in the game. The call on the field was a touchdown giving the Lions a 32-30 advantage.

 

The Detroit players and fans began celebrating what they thought was a game-winning score, but by rule, all scores in the final 2:00 of a game are reviewed and after the review, the call was reversed resulting in a mandated ten second runoff off the clock that resulted in leaving no time remaining. Just like that, the excitement of a come-from-behind win just moments earlier turned into shocked disbelief.

 

As replays from the booth showed, the reversal was the right call. Tate touched his knee to the ground while being touched by a defender before the ball broke the plane of the goal line.

 

Both teams played well, but in the end the Falcons played a touch better than the Lions, especially in the pitch and catch game, and came away as the lone unbeaten team in the NFC. The win combined with a surprising Tampa Bay (2-1) loss to Minnesota leaves Atlanta on top of the division and the lone remaining unbeaten in the conference.

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