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Starting my #ATLvsDET tweet recap. Follow this #thread for all the latest and greatest takes.
Andre Roberts didn't bring out the kick this time. In both of the last two games he attempted to return the opening kickoff.
Falcons offense was methodical on the first drive. They're just slightly off on the deep shots, but once they get those figured out...scary
Sanu with great hands early. He's been a dependable option for Ryan. Now if only there wasn't a certain mistake later in the game...
Julio was getting doubled constantly, sometimes even tripled. He had a pretty good game still, but Lions clearly made him a priority.
Lions run defense played pretty solid football early. Stuffed Freeman on his first few attempts. Clearly got worn down throughout the game.
Falcons took advantage of blitzes multiple times in this game by setting up screens to Gabriel. He definitely looks like his 2016 self again
Falcons gave up two extremely weak sacks early in the game. No idea why Ryan wasn't able to keep his feet, he was barely contacted.
That Freeman catch on 3rd-and-16 was unreal. Just a perfect catch and throw. Great toughness by Freeman to hold onto the ball after huge hit
Sanu's TD catch was a classic play from 2016. Get the QB and defense on the move and throw an easy completion. Very hard to defend.
Falcons certainly seem to be continuing their trend of scoring on opening drives. It's always nice to have an early lead.
Fantastic special teams play on the kickoff. Ball put in perfect place by Bosher, great tackle by Kazee to force the Lions into bad position
Falcons came out playing man in this game. It seems like Quinn and Manuel have finally recognized that the team plays better in that scheme.
Obviously, man has it strengths and weaknesses like any other scheme. But the personnel of the Falcons seems to fit a lot better in man.
Grady Jarrett is a monster. Drives the C two yards back into the RB for a TFL on 2nd down. He's such a force on the interior.
Falcons weren't getting enough pressure early in the game, although Lions quick-strike scheme didn't make it easier. They miss Beasley
Brian Poole might be the best tackler on the team. Recognizes the screen early, separates from his block, and makes a perfect form tackle.
Penalty on TJ Lang killed this Lions drive. Penalties throughout the game would have a big impact, for better or worse.
Decent return from Roberts on the punt. He pairs some very dynamic returns with very questionable decisions. Give and take.
Jones finally got a DPI call on the second drive. Refs were clearly trying to "let them play" in this game, but very inconsistent. Maddening
Just pick a style and stay with it. If you're going to "let them play", don't throw flags on almost no contact with the game on the line.
Ryan was just a little off with his accuracy in this game. Not sure exactly why, might be the absence of Schraeder or just the road game.
Way overthrew Hooper, who had his man beat by a step. Could've been a big play, just couldn't quite connect. Deep ball still in progress.
Even though it wasn't quite working, I appreciate the Falcons sticking to the aggressive, down-field mentality. Don't give up on it.
Falcons run game finally got going with Coleman on the second drive. Lions had a stout defensive line, just got worn down with play-action.
Again, Gabriel was open on a deep throw, just slightly overthrown. They're getting closer. Keep working it and trying, and it'll happen.
Freeman is just amazing to watch at times. How he processes the field and makes quick, ankle-breaking cuts effortlessly is utterly baffling.
Young players on the Falcons OL gave up some penalties. Schweitzer held up fine as a blocker, which is good, but false starts suck.
Austin Hooper hasn't been quite the factor I thought he would be, but he still has a role on this team. I'd like to see him get more targets
Falcons forced to settle for a FG after another weak sack. Ryan was just off today, maybe sick or something? Usually has much better balance
Lions running game takes a lot of heat, but Ameer Abdullah looks like a pretty good RB.
Unnecessary roughness on Deion Jones was an incorrect call. Led with the shoulder, clean hit. Another example of poor officiating.
Deion Jones' play on third down was phenomenal. Reads the Riddick pass the whole way, closes insanely fast, delivers a crushing hit. Perfect
Matt Prater is very good. It's a huge weapon to have a kicker that can consistently make 55+ yard field goals. Props.
Andre Roberts' best return of the game came on the ensuing kickoff. Great vision and burst to give the Falcons excellent field position.
Freeman put on a clinic in this game. Patience, decisiveness, elusiveness, hard running, speed, receiving ability, everything you want.
Even Roberts got involved as a WR in this game. He's a capable option there if the Falcons ever need depth.
I can't say enough nice things about Freeman. He's so difficult to keep out of the endzone and almost never takes a loss.
Lions offense was unable to connect on any deep throws until very late in the game. Falcons D really played them well, several almost-picks.
Falcons blitzes weren't very effective early. Lions took advantage for some sizable plays. Later on, they'd start to be more impactful.
Ryan's pick-6 was totally on him. Stared down Julio the whole way. Got way too comfortable and made a big mistake.
Gotta admire the Falcons' offense for coming out after that mistake and putting points on the board. Short memory is important in the NFL.
Coleman really got going on that drive. Strong running, and an excellent catch-and-run that put the Falcons in FG range.
Sanu should've caught that pass on 3rd-and-7. Went right through his hands.
Falcons finally started generating pressure just before the half. Takk and Clayborn both beat the tackles and got in Stafford's face.
Next play, Takk again beats his man (the RT Wagner, who is a quality NFL tackle) to force an errant throw by Stafford.
Again, on third down Takk bull rushes the tackle back into Stafford and forces an uncomfortable throw. He's going to be a problem very soon.
Another almost-pick by Stafford after he's flushed out of the pocket. Falcons had zero luck in that department on Sunday.
Falcons pass rush finally gets home, and Clayborn gets a sack on third down to shut down the Lions after halftime.
Roberts had an excellent punt return after that sack. This was definitely his best overall game of the season.
Deep ball was really close with Julio on that almost-TD, just slightly out of bounds. They are getting closer, and they keep trying.
Ryan threw the ball a bit behind Gabriel on that third down. With slightly better placement, he probably could've gotten the first.
The good news is that $$$ Matt Bryant is still as money as ever.
Duke Riley had his struggles in this game. He's just not wrapping up effectively. Good news is that he's in position to make the play.
Falcons defense really started making Stafford uncomfortable in the third quarter. Pressure was getting there and the OL starting to crack.
The dink-and-dunk style of the Lions can really wear down a defense, and it started to work on this drive. Guys were clearly out of breath.
What a fantastic catch by Gabriel on that third down. He seems fully healthy and back to his 2016 status. Should be bigger factor in future.
Coleman just didn't seem ready for the catch. Bobbled it straight into the hands of a defender. Not Ryan's fault, just a dumb mistake.
Defense really stepped up after that fumble. Takk gets his first career sack while being held.
Robinson got away with holding on the very next play. Egregious hook around the neck. Again, officiating was spotty at best.
Freeman then went super saiyan. Absolutely carved up the Lions defense on the ensuing drive. Amazing to watch, frankly. He's a beast.
Then, we have Gabriel going back to his screen-catching ways. He can be deployed in so many different formations. Such a valuable piece.
He's so quick and elusive, and pairs that with underrated field vision. I think we'll see him continue to get more work as season progresses
Falcons defense held strong. If Matt Prater wasn't some kind of cyborg kicker, they would've held the Lions to no points. 57-yd field goal..
This should've been the drive that ended the game. Julio was absolutely interfered with on the deep ball, DB hooked his arm a second early.
Pisses me off. Ref standing right there. Blatant arm holding. No flag. Then, later, they throw the flag on very little contact. Stupid.
Falcons offense continues driving. Get nearly into the red zone. And then Sanu bobbles a pass straight into Detroit's hands.
Sanu isn't likely to do that again, but come on man. Don't screw your team over like that. Hold onto the damn ball.
Detroit now benefiting from a blatant missed DPI and a bobbled, flukey interception on the same drive. But that's football.
Falcons D again stands tall. They seem to respond well to the adversity. That's good, cause there might be a lot of it at times. Respect.
Falcons offense could've put the game away after that stop, but they couldn't sustain the drive. Give credit to Detroit for not quitting.
Honestly, the clock they ate on that drive ended up being instrumental. :02 would've potentially made the difference between a W and an L.
Defense, ONCE AGAIN, held the Lions to a three-and-out, giving the offense another chance to close out the game.
Falcons offense immediately pissed away the opportunity with penalties. They did, however, force Detroit to burn all their timeouts.
Not sure about a screen to Sanu and second-and-long. Perhaps not the wisest play call in the situation.
The play that Julio got hurt on probably could've been a first down if he had kept running instead of stopping. Tough to say for sure.
Freeman again a hero to this team by jumping on the fumble. Is there anything this man can't do?
Detroit finally found some success on deep throws on their next drive. Falcons had good coverage, just fantastic throws by Stafford.
Another near pick on the next throw. Went right through Poole's hands. Lions' luck continues. Great catch and throw, though.
Falcons continue to give up chunk yardage. Defense is clearly gassed after being forced to stop the Lions three times in the last 7 minutes.
At 1st-and-30, game should've been over. But the refs weren't satisfied yet.
ANOTHER missed pick by Poole. Literally in his grasp and he dropped. Lions' luck reaching a fever pitch.
Then Alford gets the game-sealing interception. But, the refs decide to flag Trufant for literally nothing, and they give Detroit more life.
Not sure what should be done about defensive holding, but giving a team a free first down on 3rd-and-30 after a 5-yard penalty is dumb.
Then, on the very next play, Takk is held completely egregiously. Like, BADLY. Ignored again. Detroit completes the pass into the red zone.
Idk what the hell the back judge is looking at, but he isn't looking at the ball. If he was, he would've seen the blatant hold.
Refs AGAIN bail out the Lions, call DPI on a ball that literally landed in the green grass outside of the endzone. Completely uncatchable.
Now, in this case, Trufant absolutely interfered with the WR, which was stupid. But, by the letter of the law, shouldn't be a flag.
Detroit now has four fresh tries to reach the endzone with :20 remaining.
First down, RB gets tripped up with the defender. Incomplete. Nothing much to that play.
Second down, pass is thrown way over the head of the intended target. Coverage was solid, Stafford just air-mailed it.
Third down is where it gets interesting. Lions call a pick play slant short of the goal line. Catch is made, call on the field is a TD.
From the TV, it looked like a TD to me. It looked like a TD to everyone, until the replay footage showed us the truth.
So the call was reversed, and by rule, that requires a 10-second runoff. This is very controversial and I understand why.
If play is called correctly, the Lions have 8 seconds to line up and snap the ball. Since it's fourth down, that means you can't spike it.
No guarantee that happens, or that the 4th down play is successful. Though, I would've preferred to see Detroit get the chance.
The point is: the way the game ended was very weird. But don't say that Detroit really won this game. Rules were followed, like it or not.
If you want to win the game, WIN IT. Lions picked off Ryan three times. Take advantage, don't settle for FGs all game. Don't be down 30-26.
Final thoughts: Falcons clearly outplayed the Lions throughout the game, but mistakes allowed Detroit to keep it close. Props to them.
Offense was still a bit off, but the run game was electric. Freeman and Coleman once again form one of the deadliest duos in the NFL.
Deep ball is still a work in progress, but I think they're almost there. Schraeder returning could be the final piece of the puzzle.
On that note, Sambrailo has been solid. Better than expected. Schweizter, outside of a few penalties, continues to improve.
Interceptions were flukey. One was obviously Ryan's fault, the other two were just bad luck. Not worried about that going forward.
On defense, I'm impressed. They once again stepped up when we needed them most. Stopping the Lions three times in 7 mins...impressive.
Pass rush isn't quite as ferocious without Beasley, but it's still competent. Interior play is also very encouraging. Depth is very solid.
LBs still struggling in coverage a bit, but they're improving. Riley needs more experience and needs to continue to hone his tackling.
Secondary played very well. You won't encounter a much more well-rounded 3WR group than Detroit's. Played them tight and tackled well.
Only negative is the dropped picks. There must have been 6 of them. Get your hands on just one and the game is a lot different. Frustrating.
Ultimately, this Falcons team probably should've scored 40+ in Detroit. But, things don't always go according to plan.
They got a tough road win against a very good 2-0 Lions team even after they shot themselves in the foot repeatedly. I'll take the W any day
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