According to the Sports Geek, the Lions were heavy favorites against the Atlanta Falcons in London. Welp, the Lions trailed 21-0 at the half. With the injuries piling up (in addition to the slew of inactives, Nick Fairley left with a right knee injury), it felt like it was going to be an ugly one.
But the Lions made the necessary adjustments during the break and came out clicking in the second half. The Lions took points when they had the opportunity and finally found the end zone on a 59-yard strike from Matthew Stafford to Golden Tate to make it 21-10:
//platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.jsThe Lions would add another field goal after Matt Ryan threw an interception on one of the worst throws I’ve ever seen a quarterback throw to make it a one-possession game (touchdown and two-point conversion). After another stop from the defense, the Lions put together an impressive drive — almost too impressive — to get the touchdown they needed, a five-yard ball out of the flat on a play-action boot to Theo Riddick. Unfortunately, the two-point conversion failed. Golden Tate, the intended receiver on the play, was clearly held on the play, but there was no flag. The Lions would trail 21-19 with only 3 minutes and change (and all timeouts) remaining.
The Falcons picked up a couple huge first downs when they got the ball back with a chance to ice the clock, but a holding penalty on second down with 1:50 left prevented them from running out the clock more. Instead, the Lions declined the penalty with the clock stopped and got the Falcons to throw an incomplete pass on third down to force a punt with 1:40-some remaining. When the Lions got the ball back, they picked up two huge completions — one to Tate to around the 40-yard line and another to Riddick, a one-handed highlight-reel grab:
This set up a chance for (third) new kicker Matt Prater to knock down what is typically an automatic 43-yard field goal, but as the Lions have learned this year, nothing is automatic for their kickers. The snap, the hold, the kick (whistles!) and it’s … NO GOOD. Hahaha.
The whistle? It couldn’t be the Falcons calling timeout right before the snap to ice Prater because they just used their last timeout seconds earlier. Nope, it was delay of game on the Lions. This pushed the Lions back five yards but gave them another chance to kick the game-winning field goal. And of course, Prater drilled it:
//platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.jsWhat a win. And tough loss for the Falcons:
This is the kind of game the Lions never used to win. Stupid penalties in their favor? Their own stupid penalties in their favor? And what a day to pull out a win like this while in foreign territory and on the day Matthew Stafford passed Bobby Layne for the most passing touchdowns in franchise history.
It seems the curse is broken.