The opening drive of the Atlanta Falcons’ game this past weekend in London, England spanned 10 plays covering a distance of 80 yards, capped off by a touchdown from Devonta Freeman. Throughout the course of the day a strong performance was shown by running back Steven Jackson as he passed Warrick Dunn in career rushing yards (10,973). By halftime Jackson has broken 11,000 career rushing yards, totalling 38 yards on 11 carries in the first two quarters. At the break, starting quarterback Matt Ryan had totalled two touchdowns from the first quarter combining with Jackson’s score, putting the Birds up 21-0.
The second half would be 30 minutes of a much more competitive game. During the third quarter Detroit Lions quarterback and their offense came alive slashing into Atlanta’s lead by 10 points. A 22 yard field goal from kicker, Matt Prater along with a 59-yard strike from Stafford to Golden Tate accounted for the points gained by the Lions. Also in the third, Matt Ryan was the victim of an intercepted pass near midfield by cornerback, Cassius Vaughn, who then returned the turnover 45 yards to the Falcon’s 7 yard line.
The fourth quarter proved to be dramatic as it kicked off with a goal line stand by the Falcons defense, holding the Lions to just 3 points. Up 21-13. After trading a possession on offense, Atlanta was forced to punt to the Lions 31 yard line. The ensuing drive resulted in a 13 play, 69 yard march down the field eating up 7:29 of clock being capped off by a 5 yard pass from Stafford’s hands to Riddicks. a 21-19 score led the Lions to attempt a 2-point conversion to even the score, but a great defensive effort from cornerback Desmond Trufant deflected the pass intended for Tate away to maintain the lead.
The Falcon’s then milked the clock for as long as they could but could not prolong a drive to seal the game. Forced to punt, the Lions got the ball back with 1:38 to play. The resulting drive would break the hearts of the Falcon faithful as with seconds expiring the Lions had gotten within field goal range and set up for the 3-point try, for the win. With the initial snap coming after the expiration of the play clock, the kick that was wide right was nullified. A second attempt for Lions kicker, Matt Prater from five yards further away (48 yards) proved to be true giving them the first lead of the day and the win.