The Atlanta Falcons showed absolutely no jet lag in London, opening the game with a 10-play drive, covering 80 yards in 5:35, ending with a 7-yard touchdown reception by Falcons rookie running back Devonta Freeman. During the drive, following a 7-yard carry, Falcons running back Steven Jackson surpassed former Falcons running back Warrick Dunn for career rushing yards (10,973). The early momentum carried over to the Falcons defense, keeping the Lions offense, which did not include wide receiver Calvin Johnson and running back Reggie Bush, from crossing their own 30-yard line on their opening drive, forcing a punt.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan took control on the second drive, welcoming back wide receiver Harry Douglas, who returned to action for the first time since suffering a Week 3 foot injury. Douglas hauled in a 16-yard reception on 3rd-and-8, continuing the team's drive, which ended in the hands of Falcons TE Bear Pascoe, whose 1-yard touchdown reception gave the Falcons a 14-0 first-quarter lead.
Offensive Player of the Quarter: Falcons QB Matt Ryan
The team's signal-caller finished the first quarter with almost perfect numbers, completing nine of 10 passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensive Player(s) of the Quarter: Falcons Defensive Line
The Detroit Lions were kept off the scoreboard in the first quarter, thanks to a Falcons defense that included plays by defensive end Tyson Jackson and defensive tackle Paul Soliai, who stuffed Lions running back Theo Riddick for a 2-yard loss, near the end of the quarter.
The Falcons defense continued their improved performance from the first quarter, forcing punts on the first two offensive drives by the Lions. When the Falcons offense took the field for their second drive of the quarter, Ryan went right back to work. "Matty Ice" found Douglas for a 13-yard reception to move the sticks on 2nd-and-11, eventually leading to the Lions one-yard line, where Jackson bolted into the end zone, giving the team a 21-0 lead.
Offensive Player of the Quarter: Falcons RB Steven Jackson
By halftime, Jackson had 11 carries for 38 yards and the 1-yard score; he also became the 19th player in NFL history to post 11,000 career rushing yards.
Defensive Player of the Quarter: Falcons CB Robert Alford
Alford logged two interceptions last week against the Baltimore Ravens and he added another one in the second quarter Sunday, picking off Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford at the Falcons 18-yard line.
Momentum changed sides in the third quarter as the Lions mounted a comeback; Detroit narrowed the Falcons' 21-point lead by 10 points, following a 22-yard field goal by Lions kicker Matt Prater and a 59-yard touchdown reception by Lions wide receiver Golden Tate. The Falcons offense started to get moving, before the turnover bug hit as Ryan was intercepted by Lions cornerback Cassius Vaughn, who returned the pick 45 yards to the Falcons' 7-yard line.
Offensive Player of the Quarter: Lions QB Matthew Stafford
Known for his strong arm and comeback ability, Stafford's 59-yard strike to Tate was historic, marking his 119th career touchdown pass, the most in franchise history.
Defensive Player of the Quarter:Lions CB Cassius Vaughn
Vaughn continued the momentum for the Lions, picking off Ryan at Detroit's 48-yard line, returning it 45 yards to the Falcons 7-yard line.
Just when the Lions appeared to be punching one in for six, the Falcons defense begged to differ, preventing a touchdown, allowing just three points, a 20-yard field goal by Prater. Now leading 21-13, the Falcons offense was forced to punt after five plays and the Lions took advantage of the next drive as Stafford led a 13-play scoring drive, which covered 69 yards in 7:29, ending with a 5-yard touchdown reception by Riddick, narrowing their deficit to 21-19. The Lions looked to tie the contest with a two-point conversion, but Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant knocked the pass away from Tate, preserving the lead.
Holding onto the lead, Ryan and company faced a huge 3rd-and-5 from their own 25-yard line, when Douglas hauled in another clutch grab, covering 13 yards for the first down. One play later, Ryan found Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones for a 22-yard gain, allowing the team to further milk time off the clock. Unfortunately for the Falcons, they couldn't keep the ball for the remainder of the quarter, punting to the Lions with 1:38 to play in the game. Detroit made the most of its final drive, but needed some help, given a second opportunity to win the game, following a delay-of-game penalty that nullified a Prater miss from 43 yards out. Since the play was ruled dead before the snap, the ball was moved back five yards and Prater nailed the 48-yard game-winning kick, preventing Atlanta's third win of the year.
Offensive Player of the Quarter:Lions K Matt Prater
The Lions kicker made three field goals on the day, but the one in the fourth quarter prevented the Falcons from a 21-19 win as Prater nailed the game-winning 48-yard field goal.
Defensive Player of the Quarter: Falcons CB Desmond Trufant
When the team needed him most, Trufant stepped up and made the huge pass breakup against Tate, preventing a two-point conversion that would've tied the game.