Weatherspoon sacks Stafford
The Falcons pulled off an impressive road win against the Detroit Lions by a score of 23-16. The Falcons got off to a very strong start and were helped by a very strong performance by their defense. A few Falcon players reached some impressive benchmarks during the course of the game.
Matt Ryan led the team, completing 20 of 34 passes for 318 yards with a touchdown and 2 interceptions. Ryan also rushed for a touchdown on a QB sneak. Ryan left the game briefly with an ankle and knee injury in the third quarter, but only missed two offensive snaps before returning to the game to finish. Michael Turner had a nice game on the ground with 122 yards on 27 carries, including an impressive 50-yard run. In the air, Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White shared the team lead with 5 receptions each. Gonzalez had 62 yards receiving, while White had 52 yards and a touchdown. Gonzo moved into second place all-time behind Jerry Rice with career receptions, passing both Marvin Harrison and Cris Carter on the day. Harry Douglas also had a nice day receiving with 4 catches for 62 yards. Matt Bryant connected on 3 field goals of 23, 47, and 40 yards. He also broke the Falcons record for consecutive field goals with 27 straight and counting. The record of 26 was set by Norm Johnson back in 1993. Matt Bosher had a nice day punting with 5 punts, averaging 35.4 per kick and having 2 placed inside the 20-yard line. Eric Weems had a good day on returns averaging 27.3 yards on 3 kickoffs despite having a 104-yard touchdown negated by a penalty. He also had 4 punt returns for an average of 15.5 yards, including a 37-yard return. Special teams was also successful in forcing the team’s lone turnover, as Akeem Dent knocked a Stefan Logan kickoff loose, allowing Jason Snelling to recover.
Defensively, the Falcons were sharp on third downs after a sluggish game a week ago in that realm against the Panthers. The Lions only converted 1 of 12 third down attempts, and their lone success did not come until there was little more 2 minutes remaining in the third quarter. The Falcons were able to get pressure on Matt Stafford, with 3 sacks and for most of the game held wide receiver Calvin Johnson in check. Johnson ended the game with 5 catches for 115 yards and a touchdown, but most of his yardage came on a single play, a 57-yard score. The defense held Matt Stafford to only 47 yards passing in the first half, the lowest first half total of his career, and a passer that has been averaging 288 yards per game this year. Curtis Lofton led the unit with 10 tackles. John Abraham (2 tackles, 1 sack), Ray Edwards (3 tackles, 1 pass defended), Brent Grimes (4 tackles, 2 passes defended), William Moore (4 tackles, 1 pass defended), Stephen Nicholas (6 tackles), Corey Peters (3 tackles, 1 sack, 2 passes defended), and Sean Weatherspoon (6 tackles, 1 sack, 1 pass defended) all had noteworthy games.