Falcons blow largest lead in franchise history in 22-21 loss to Lions

Sunday's loss against the Detroit Lions was one of the worst under the current regime. (Mike Smith)

Sunday’s loss against the Detroit Lions was one of the worst under the current regime. (Mike Smith)

Blowing a 21-point lead was the largest in Atlanta Falcons history, setting a new low for the franchise and the current regime.

The Falcons lost their fifth consecutive game after losing 22-21 to the Detroit Lions in London after jumping out to a 21-0 lead in the first half.

Matt Prater booted the game-winning 48-yard field goal after a delay of game penalty wiped out the first attempt that he missed.

On paper, it looked like the Falcons were overmatched versus the Lions.

Atlanta’s makeshift offensive line that has seen five linemen placed on injured reserve was squared up against a fearsome Detroit front that boasts the league’s top-ranked defense and ranked third with 21 sacks on the year.

But the Falcons came out scorching, receiving the ball first and promptly marching 80 yards in 10 plays, capping off the drive with a seven-yard touchdown catch by Devonta Freeman.

Atlanta then stopped Detroit’s first possession, and put together a six-play, 56-yard drive to take a 14-0 lead.

The Falcons looked to be in complete control of the game after putting another score on the board – a one-yard touchdown run by Steven Jackson.

After four possessions, the Falcons had scored on three.

But the second half told a vastly different tale.

Detroit took the first possession of the second half down the field for 76 yards and finally got on the board with a 22-yard field goal from Prater.

Then, on an improbable 3rd and 25, Matt Stafford connected with Golden Tate for a 59-yard touchdown. Suddenly, the Lions were down just two scores, 21-10, and showed no signs of slowing down.

Matt Ryan’s ill-advised interception to Cassius Vaughn on Atlanta’s next drive allowed Detroit to put up another three points.

After another failed drive from Atlanta, Detroit had a chance to tie the game. However, the two-point conversion following the five-yard touchdown pass to Theo Riddick failed. After playing an abysmal second half, the Falcons still had a chance to close out the game.

But they didn’t.

After the Falcons held the ball for a little over two minutes, Julio Jones dropped a pass on a screen on a third and 10 that stopped the clock and gave the Lions plenty of time to put together the game-winning drive.

Ryan finished 20 of 27 for 228 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Roddy White led the Falcons receivers with five catches for 66 yards.

Stafford threw for 325 yards on 24 of 47 passing. He had a touchdown and an interception. Tate led Detroit’s receivers with seven grabs for 151 yards and a touchdown.

The Falcons have a bye week next week before going on the road to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and there could be major changes taking place before that game.


Harry Douglas returned after missing the past four games. He caught three passes for 42 yards, including a huge 13-yard grab on third and five that kept Atlanta’s final drive alive.

Steven Jackson needed just 34 yards to hit the 11,000 career rushing yards milestone. He ended the game with 60 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.

The Falcons are 2-6 for the second straight season and things are as bleak as they’ve ever been.

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2 thoughts on “Falcons blow largest lead in franchise history in 22-21 loss to Lions

  1. Paul Linkous says:

    I just read the article on here about the NFC Championship game vs SF, strikingly similar to yesterday

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