For the Detroit Lions, hope that the second half of the season would be much better than the first started with a game against a very good Atlanta Falcons team. There was no doubt that the Lions were the underdogs, and also that they needed to play an almost perfect game to pull out the victory. Well, on Sunday, that's exactly what happened as Detroit did win 30-14.
Starting off games the right way hasn't been the problem for Detroit this season. It was the finishing part that needed some work. Many times already this season the Lions have jumped out in front but just relinquished the lead in the closing stages. That's one of the main reasons the Lions' record is so disappointing. But, now in the second half of the year, a chance to change that presents itself, and can possibly change around a thus far unimpressive span of play.
That quick start played a big part in today's game as Detroit got ahead early and never looked back. On the first possession of the game the Lions moved the ball down the field and put together a great drive. The end result was only a field goal, but putting points on the board that quickly never is a bad thing. Atlanta then got the ball back and looked to answer, but instead made a critical error that really was the turning point in this game. Mike Vick scrambled around trying to find an opening, and instead got the ball knocked loose and put it on the turf. After rolling on the field, the ball was recovered by Ernie Sims and gave the Lions the momentum needed to get things going in the right direction. Just three plays later Kevin Jones took a handoff and went the distance, getting by defenders to get a 35 yard touchdown run. The blocking was perfect and the run just as good. Before you knew it, Lions led 10-0.
Atlanta did finally answer the Lions after Mike Vick orcestrated a quick scoring drive. The Falcons found a weak spot in the Lions defense and wound up completing passes to continually move the chains. The drive was capped off with an Alge Crumpler touchdown reception, narrowing the gap to 10-7, but another costly mistake would put the Falcons in another hole.
Atlanta came out after scoring and their defense showed some promise. The Lions failed to convert a 4th down play inside the five yard line, and were forced to give the ball over to Atlanta. But, Mike Vick made a costly throw two plays later and gave the ball back to Detroit when Dre Bly got an interception. Kevin Jones got his second touchdown of the day soon after when he rushed in from 2 yards out, making the score 17-7.
Atlanta once again got points again to cut down the lead before the half because of a shortened field. Plus, Mike Vick showed off his running ability with a long run to set up Warrick Dunn for a touchdown. At the half, the Lions held a surprising 17-14 advantage.
The second half was a carbon copy of the first except the Detroit defense played even better than before. The third quarter went by without any scoring except a Jason Hanson field goal. But, the fourth quarter was a different story. Roy Williams went out on the field and backed up his trash talk against DeAngelo Hall when he caught a slant pass from Jon Kitna and got past the Atlanta defenders, eventually going 60 yards for the touchdown. That sealed the deal and gave Detroit a big enough lead to win the game. Jason Hanson added another field goal after to make the final score 30-14.
This is a very big win for the Lions. Every aspect of the game was played nearly perfect by Detroit. The offense scored and controlled the ball. In fact, they even left some points on the field. Then on the other side of the ball, the defense not only contained the Falcons, but shut them down. Mike Vick had little to no success, and even was forced into making many different mistakes.
Now, after this victory, the Lions host the 49ers next week and have another chance to add a win. With the way the schedule presents itself down the road, Detroit has a chance to add more than just a few victories. Check back here at Pride of Detroit at the same time next week for a recap of what will hopefully be another Lions triumph.