Todd Gurley: ‘I shouldn’t have scored’

Credit: Atlanta Falcons

Falcons running back Todd Gurley discusses scoring play that left a minute on the clock for Lions’ game-winning drive.

Credit: Atlanta Falcons

Falcons running back Todd Gurley knew he’d made a mistake.

The Falcons had talked about falling down instead of scoring, but as he approached the goal line, he veered to his right and tried to find a comfortable spot on the turf.

However, he broke the plane and the Falcons left the defense with too much time on the clock.

“I was as mad as hell,” Gurley said on Sunday after the 23-22 loss to the Lions. “I was trying not to (score), my momentum took me in … It’s one of those unfortunate situations.”

The Falcons were trying to protect their defense, which has made it a habit of blowing fourth-quarter leads this season. The Falcons blew a 39-24 fourth-quarter lead against the Cowboys on Sept. 20.

The following week, they held a 26-10 fourth-quarter lead over the Chicago Bears before losing.

So, it made sense to protect the defense, even if it was just 1:04 left.

The Lions had used all of their times out and the Falcons could have kneeled down instead of asking Gurley to make a non-instinctive play

“I’ve been in plenty of those situations (since) my rookie year, about six or seven and I’ve always got down, it was an unfortunate one right there,” Gurley said. “That’s the point of going down, not putting the ball in the hands especially of someone like Matt Stafford. He’s known for comebacks and once again he showed why he’s an elite quarterback in this league.”

Stafford zipped down the field in eight plays, including two spikes before finding a wide open tight end T.J. Hockenson for an 11-yard touchdown reception.

Falcons cornerback Kendall Sheffield reacts as Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson (left) scores a touchdown as time expires Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)
Falcons cornerback Kendall Sheffield reacts as Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson (left) scores a touchdown as time expires Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

“Yeah, the defense has to stop them, but it’s my job (to) just go down, not putting the matter in no one else’s hands,” Gurley said. “I’ll take that, take it on the chin, keep my head high and come back get ready for the Carolina game just try to get a win.”

The Falcons, trailing 16-14, had discussed trying not to score so quickly.

“We talked about it in the huddle probably a couple plays prior to that,” Gurley said. “I know that. I’ve been in multiple situations over my years in the league. Just one of those unfortunate ones.”

The Falcons didn’t consider just taking a knee.

“No, there wasn’t,” Gurley said.

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said: “Not through my helmet, no.”

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones couldn’t believe the Falcons found a new way to lose.

“Obviously, we didn’t want him to get into the end zone,” Jones said. “We wanted him to get down before goal line, but it happened. The defense had to step up and get us a stop. They played well. But we just ... I don’t know, I don’t play defense … I don’t know what happened on their end.”

Gurley felt it shouldn’t have been on the defense’s plate. They entered the game as the 31st-ranked pass defense in the league and gave up 340 yards passing to Stafford.

“You can put the blame on that, put the blame on this,” Gurley said. “I’m not that type of person. I’ll man up and take the responsibility, trying to go down, but I didn’t. Trying is not good enough. Just got to do better on my behalf.”

Gurley rushed 23 times for 63 yards and two touchdowns against a stout Lions defensive front seven.

“Whoo, those are some big boys,” Gurley said. “Big boys up front. That front seven did a helluva job, I had to work for all (63) yards, not going to lie about that. I’m feeling it, too. Hats off to those guys. They did an incredible job.”

But the standup Gurley, ended with this: “Ah, (expletive) it, I shouldn’t have scored.”

Falcons' next four games

Lions at Falcons at 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25

Falcons at Panthers at 8:20 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29

Broncos at Falcons at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8

Falcons at Saints at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22

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