Report card: Falcons 30, Lions 26 

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Report card: Falcons 30, Lions 26 

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Duane Burleson/AP
Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (24) rushes during the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Here are the grades for the Falcons from their 30-26 victory over the Lions before a crowd of hostile crowd of 63,240 at Ford Field on Sunday.

The game ended on a controversial play and a 10-second run off after an apparent touchdown pass to Golden Tate from Matthew Stafford.

He was ruled down and there was a 10-second run off to end the game. 

Run offense: Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman gashed the Lions early and that opened up things for the offense. Freeman had 44 yards on 11 carries and Coleman 24 on three carries at halftime. Freeman added his fourth rushing touchdown of the season. The Falcons were able to find some success running inside against against the Lions, who were without rookie middle linebacker Jarrad Davis. Freeman rushed 21 times for 106 yards and one touchdown. Tevin Coleman added 46 yards rushing on six carries. Grade: B-plus

 

  

Pass offense: Matt Ryan entered the game having not thrown an interception over his past 195 attempts. He had 16 more attempts in without an interception before Lions free safety Glover Quinn stepped in front of a pass intended for Julio Jones and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown. Lions cornerback Darius Slay intercepted Ryan in the third quarter when they were trying to hurrying after a controversial catch. Slay picked off another one that bounced of Mohamed Sanu’s hands. Ryan completed passes to seven different receivers in the first half. The Falcons liked the matchup of their running backs on the Lions’ linebackers. Ty Sambrailo was overpowered twice in pass protection and gave up a two sacks. Ryan hadn’t thrown three interceptions in a game since doing it against Indianapolis in a 24-21 loss on Nov. 22, 2015. Ryan has thrown at least 3 interceptions in a game eight times over his career.  Ryan was 24 of 35 for 294 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Grade: C-plus 

Run defense: The Falcons held Lions running back Ameer Abdullah in check. He was coming off rushing for a career-high 86 yards against the Giants. He had six rushes for 22 yards at halftime. The strong play against the run kept the Lions out of the redzone until under 7:00 was left in the third quarter. Grade: B-plus

Pass defense: Lions wide receiver Golden Tate was flanked out to the left and came across the middle with the Falcons playing zone. He caught the ball and scored the Lions’ first offensive touchdown from 11 yards out with 4:51 left in the third quarter to make 23-20. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford moved the ball around to six different receivers in the first half. Defensive ends Adrian Clayborn and Takkarist McKinley had a sack each. McKinley tipped a Stafford pass on third down in the fourth quarter that force Detroit to settle for a field goal. Grade B 

Special teams:  Matt Bryant made all of his extra points and field goals of 36, 48 and 40 yards. The kickoff return team was stuffed in the third quarter after the Lions closed to within three, 23-20. Matt Bosher didn’t make his first punt until 3:26 left in the game.  Grade: B 

Coaching: Falcons offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian came out throwing. He called passes on 9 of the first 12 plays. Ryan completed eight and was sacked on one. The defense did a good job of making the Lions’ one dimensional as they held the run game in check. Grade B 

Next up: The Falcons will host the Buffalo Bills at 1 p.m. Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

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