Some tense moments were experienced in the third quarter as quarterback Matt Ryan went down to the ground and stayed there. The television replay showed a gruesome injury, sure to end the signal-caller's season as tackle Will Svitek stepped on Ryan's ankle and twisted it at an awkward angle. Ryan stayed down for a few moments, then surprisingly popped up and walked off the field on his own power. He was taken to the locker room right afterward and his return was questionable. Minutes after Chris Redman checked in, Ryan emerged from the tunnel and jogged back to the sideline. A play later, he was back on the field, delivering a pass to Matt Ryan that went for 49 yards.
Tony Gonzalez's career is like a book that never ends. The things he's accomplished in his 15 years are absolutely astounding. Coming into Sunday's game, he needed four receptions to reach another milestone in his storied career and he got it in the first half. Gonzalez became the sole owner of the No. 2 spot in NFL history for most receptions during a career. Gonzalez earned the spot on a quick pass from Matt Ryan during the Falcons' two-minute offense that ended with a Julio Jones touchdown. Gonzalez currently has 1,103 receptions in his career, 446 behind Rice.
The big matchup coming into Sunday's game was Detroit's dynamic, prolific wide receiver Calvin Johnson vs. the Falcons' secondary. MegaTron, as he's called, has the ability to change a game without notice and make defenses struggle for answers. Against the Falcons, however, Johnson was held to a quiet day until late in the third quarter, particularly against Brent Grimes, who earned the nickname Optimus Grimes by Falcons fans earlier this week. Grimes nearly had two interceptions Sunday but did have a great pass breakup vs. Johnson in the first half. Johnson, however, exploded for a 57-yard touchdown catch-and-run in the third quarter to put Detroit within four points of the lead.
Bryant is Automatic
Josh Harris, quietly, has been having a career season. In recent years, we've seen where the Falcons' kicking game had been the most tenuous of positions, but Bryant has provided amazing stability since last season. Bryant, on Sunday, kicked his 26th and 27th consecutive field goals, which put him in first place in the Falcons' history books for most field goals in a row. Falcons K Norm Johnson kicked 26-straight between the 1992-1993 seasons.
Gonzalez and Bryant weren't the only ones adding a bit of history to his career. Ryan also had a couple of interesting stats that he put into his resume. On the first-half touchdown pass to White, Ryan had racked up his 75th career touchdown pass. On the first Falcons touchdown of the game, Ryan rushed up the middle for about a half-yard for a score, which was the first time in his career he rushed for a touchdown in back-to-back games.