The Detroit Lions recorded a huge 23-22 come-from-behind victory over the Falcons in Atlanta Sunday to improve their record to 3-3 on the season and put themselves right back into the conversation in the NFC playoff race. Detroit hosts the 4-2 Indianapolis Colts at Ford Field next week.
Since 1990, just over 35 percent of the teams that started the year 3-3 have advanced to make the playoffs, per NFL Media Research.
What is that percentage had Matthew Stafford not guided the Lions 75 yards in one minute and four seconds to connect with tight end T.J. Hockenson on a game-tying touchdown that led to Matt Prater's game-winning extra point Sunday afternoon? Teams that started 2-4 since 1990 have made the playoffs just 9.5 percent of the time.
"We had a good win last week, but our thing, and what we said is, 'Hey, one win is solid, but two wins feels even better,'" veteran wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. said after the game.
"We're taking it as an approach like every week we're 0-0. That's what we're doing right now. It just felt great to keep rolling in the same direction."
The Lions will be looking to continue that next week against the Colts where a win would put the Lions above the .500 mark for the first time this season.
Lions Pool Reporter Dave Birkett asked NFL Senior Vice President of Officiating Al Riveron to explain the clock stoppage at the end of the game after Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay caught a 29-yard pass down to the Falcons' 11-yard line.
The Lions were rushing to the line to snap the ball, and there was a penalty flag thrown on the field. Birkett asked why there was a review instead of that penalty being enforced.
"I don't know what the flag was for, but we stopped the play before the next snap took place," Riveron said. "Therefore, whatever happens afterwards, unless we have a dead ball personal foul or something like that, we can say it didn't happen because we stopped the game prior to the next snap."
What terrific defensive awareness by the Lions and safety Will Harris to allow Falcons running back Todd Gurley to score a touchdown late in the game Sunday. Harris had Gurley wrapped up, but let him loose around the 3-yard line in hopes Gurley would score and give the ball back to the Lions with a minute left and a chance to score a touchdown and win the game.
The Falcons were down 16-14 at the time, and would have been inside the Lions' 10-yard line with a chance to run the clock down and kick a chip-shot field goal as time expired to win. But Gurley scored, even though he tried to hold himself up and out of the end zone.
"Yeah, I mean, it was great situational defense – great situational defense awareness right there," Lions head coach Matt Patricia said after the game. "I thought it was perfect. The defense, give the players credit. They executed an outstanding job and very situationally aware right there. It was honestly exactly how you want it, so it was a great job by them."
The rest is history. The offense got the ball back and went 75 yards in eight plays to score the game-tying touchdown with no time left and kick the game-winning extra point right after.
- Rookie running back D’Andre Swift scored on a 3-yard touchdown run Sunday. He's the third player in team history with four rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown through their first six games.
- The Lions have scored 21-plus points in all six games this season. The only other times the Lions have produced at least 21 points in each of their first six games of a season is 1954 and 1951.