ATLANTA — In heartbreaking fashion, the Atlanta Falcons lose 23-22 on a last-second touchdown to the Detroit Lions, falling to 1-6 on the 2020 NFL season.
It was the latest crushing loss for the Falcons in an increasingly disappointing 2020 NFL season, as Atlanta falls to 1-6 on a season where they have lost three games to last-minute scoring drives to opponents.
Atlanta Falcons interim head coach Raheem Morris on the loss and having to turn around quickly in a short week, “No excuses. Short week. Turn around. Let’s get back to play our common opponent in our division. Let’s go to work.”
The Falcons started slow, falling behind 7-0 to the Lions in the first quarter, but as the second quarter began, quarterback Matt Ryan was able to open things up in the passing game as Atlanta battled back to take a 14-10 lead into halftime.
In the second half, Atlanta tried to hold onto a 14-13 lead, struggling again early to put drives together that ended in points.
On the opening drive of the fourth quarter, Atlanta had their chance to extend the lead, having 4th down and five from the Detroit 13-yard line. Instead of taking the points to extend the lead to four, Atlanta elected to go for it and turned the ball over on downs as Matt Ryan’s pass to Ito Smith fell incomplete.
Coach Morris spoke on the decision to go for it saying, “Just being aggressive. Same mentality as we had the last week when we get into those fourth and medium situations. You know, obviously looking back we wished we’d taken the three, but we didn’t.”
The decision proved costly, as the Lions would come back two drives later and kick a field goal of their own to take a two-point lead.
Getting the ball back with just over three minutes to play, Atlanta would put together a drive that looked to be the game-winner as they sat at the ten-yard line with just over a minute to play.
In what ended up being a savvy move, Detroit allowed the Falcons to score, as running back Todd Gurley tried to stop himself short of the goal line but was unable to stop his momentum as the ball crossed the plane of the endzone for the touchdown.
The score gave the Falcons a 22-16 lead after a successful two-point conversion extended the Atlanta lead to six, and the Lions would have one final chance to win with no timeouts and just over a minute to play.
Detroit would march right down the field and would get one final shot at the endzone with two seconds to play from the Falcons 11-yard line.
Escaping pressure, Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford would find an open tight end TJ Hockenson to tie the game, and kicker Matt Prater made the game-winning extra-point to steal a last-second victory over Atlanta.
The Atlanta Falcons will next travel to Charlotte to take on the Carolina Panthers for Thursday Night Football.