The Detroit Lions got back on track in a big way Sunday, beating the previously undefeated Atlanta Falcons, 20-6, at Ford Field.
The play of Detroit's defense was the big storyline Sunday and the catalyst behind a win that improved Detroit's record to 2-1 on the season. The way Detroit's defense played all game it was fitting that Atlanta's hopes for a comeback were thwarted by an Aidan Hutchinson sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery. It was that kind of day for Detroit's defense.
The Lions' defense held the Falcons' No. 4 ranked rushing attack to just 44 total yards, 126.5 yards below their 170.5 average per game coming in. The Falcons had just 183 yards in total offense as Detroit's defense recorded seven sacks and 11 tackles for loss.
Detroit pushed their lead to 20-3 with just under 10 minutes to play in the game on a three-yard touchdown run by Goff that capped off a seven-play, 62-yard drive. Before that touchdown Atlanta had outscored their previous two opponents (Carolina and Green Bay) 27-0 in the fourth quarter.
Riley Patterson was 2-for-2 kicking field goals on the afternoon from 37 and 24 yards, respectively.
QB comparison: Goff was an efficient 22-for-33 passing for 243 yards with a touchdown pass and touchdown run. He also threw a third-quarter interception and finished with an 85.8 passer rating.
Atlanta quarterback Desmond Ridder was pressured all game and finished completing 21 of his 38 passes for 201 yards with no touchdowns, no interceptions and a 70.2 passer rating.
Key stat: Detroit had seven sacks in the contest after having just one in their first two games combined. Detroit was relentless with their pressure all game when they rushed four and brought extra pressure.
Defensive lineman Benito Jones, defensive lineman Alim McNeill, edge rusher Charles Harris, linebacker Derrick Barnes, rookie linebacker Jack Campbell and Hutchinson (2) all recorded sacks Sunday.
Big play(s): Goff's three-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter was set up by back-to-back explosive runs by rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs. Gibbs' 12-yard run from the Lions' 41-yard line down to the 29-yard line put the Lions in field goal position in what was a 10-point lead at the time.
On the very next play Gibbs burst through the left side of the line and down the left sideline before he was tracked down at the Atlanta 8-yard line. Goff scored three plays later to essentially ice the game. Gibbs finished the game with 80 yards on 17 carries for a 4.7-yard average.
View photos from the Atlanta Falcons vs. Detroit Lions Week 3 game at Ford Field on Sunday, Sept. 24 in Detroit, MI.
Injury report: An already shorthanded Lions offensive line suffered another blow early in the second quarter when right tackle Matt Nelson left the game with an ankle injury. He was carted off and did not return. Veteran Dan Skipper, who was elevated from the practice squad on Saturday, came in to replace Nelson.
Rookie Colby Sorsdal, who the Lions moved from tackle to guard, was forced to start the second half at right tackle after Skipper suffered a hamstring injury.
Up next: at Green Bay, Sept. 27 (Thurs.), 8:15 p.m.