Although the Detroit Lions came up one official review of a touchdown short of an incredible comeback against the Atlanta Falcons, there was no shortage of big moments. Nothing captures the intensity of such plays quite like the audio fireworks from Dan Miller and Jim Brandstatter on the Lions Radio Network, and our favorite broadcast duo was in prime form on Sunday.
Entering Sunday’s game hosting the defending NFC champions, the Lions were tied for second in the league in giveaway-takeaways margin, a far cry from finishing fourth-worst in that department a year ago. Reigning league MVP Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ powerful offense got to experience the difference throughout the game.
In the early going, Detroit’s youngsters on the defensive line made it clear the defense was up to the challenge of proving it could handle an offense loaded with talent. First up, Jeremiah Valoaga in the first quarter:
Later in the second quarter, Anthony Zettel dropped Ryan for 11 yards on third-and-2 from the Detroit 7-yard line to hold Atlanta to a field goal:
On the following possession, the Stone Cold Killa known to most people as Matt Prater casually converted a 55-yard field goal to put the Lions on the board:
Down 17-6 with under two minutes to go in the first half, Glover Quin changed the tone of the game with a huge interception return for a touchdown:
Atlanta would add two field goals to push the lead to ten points in the middle of the third quarter, but an impressive 12-play drive capped by this Matthew Stafford to Golden Tate touchdown would put the Lions within a field goal:
On the ensuing drive, Darius Slay would put up the first of two timely picks of his own, resulting in a 35-yard Matt Prater field goal to tie the game:
Midway through the fourth quarter, Prater and Slay would deliver again to pull the Lions within four and keep it close enough for Stafford and the offense to take some late shots. Unsatisfied with merely making one from 55 yards out, Prater would knock one through from two yards further out:
Dan Miller: “Can you believe this guy?”
Jim Brandstatter: “No.”
We’re all right there with you, Brandy.
Closing out the audio big play highlights, it is fitting we have Big Play Slay himself. Down four with Atlanta threatening in the red zone on second-and-10 from the Detroit 19, the stud cornerback plucked a deflected ball from the air and ran it back 37 yards:
After the emotional rollercoaster of the final seconds in the fourth quarter, it takes a calming force like Papa Jim to bring it in. While not a play highlight, Jim Brandstatter had a post-game interview with head coach Jim Caldwell after the game with some questions about the end-of-game situation that is worth a listen:
Big thanks again to both Dan Miller and Jim Brandstatter for being the best. You can catch Dan Miller on Fox 2 Detroit and on Twitter at @DanMillerFox2. Jim Brandstatter also does play-by-play for the University of Michigan football program and is on Twitter as well as @brandymancan.