Week 12 Game Recap: Atlanta Falcons 27, Detroit Lions 7
What you need to know
QB Michael Vick looked more like the quarterback we remember from earlier in the season than he did over the past two weeks. Vick escaped the pocket early and often rolling mostly to his left. He made plays on the run and picked up several first downs fleeing from the pass rush.
RB Warrick Dunn sliced through the Lions’ defense picking up great yardage in chunks. Dunn broke into the secondary on several runs. The Falcons’ offensive line opened multiple gaping holes making it easy for Falcons’ runners.
Falcons’ wide receivers combined for only two receptions (both by Roddy White). TE Alge Crumpler was the focus of the Falcons’ passing game with seven receptions and two touchdowns. After the Falcons opened the third quarter with Crumpler’s second touchdown, Atlanta only attempted three more passes in the game.
QB Jeff Garcia replaced Joey Harrington at the end of the second quarter. Harrington actually looked good throwing the ball, but he didn’t get any help from his team. WR Roy Williams fell down on a fly route that was intercepted. RB Shawn Bryson fumbled to kill another drive. Garcia didn’t look any better than Harrington. Dropped passes hurt both quarterbacks. Third string QB Dan Orlovsky mopped up in garbage time.
Two turnovers and an early 17 point deficit caused the Lions to completely abandon the running game. RB Kevin Jones had only four carries in the game. When he got the ball he ran very well, but a combination of the game being out of hand and a quad injury kept him on the sideline. Backup RB Shawn Bryson saw the majority of time in the backfield.
WR Scott Vines continues to be the most consistent Lions’ wide receiver. Rookie WR Mike Williams posted the best statistics in the game, but five of his six receptions came in garbage time when the game was well in hand. Both Mike and Roy Williams were ineffective. Each dropped multiple passes and was responsible for interceptions due to miscommunications with quarterbacks.
What you ought to know
|QB Michael Vick, Pass: 12 - 22 - 146 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 6 - 57 - 0|
Vick started the game in impressive fashion hitting his first two passes and marching the Falcons down the field on the opening possession for a field goal. On the second play of the drive Vick bootlegged around left end and ran for six yards. After getting pushed out of bounds he got up limping noticeably. Two plays later he ran around left end again with a hitch in his gait. The knee didn’t seem to bother him after that. Other than two overthrows, Vick threw the ball well early in the game. He showed a nice combination of using his legs to buy time as well as standing in the pocket and delivering passes with a pass rush all around him. He nearly had a short touchdown pass to FB Justin Griffith, but Griffith was ruled down by contact just short of the goal line. Late in the first half Vick began to show why he has critics. He threw several errant passes, including one that was a full two yards behind RB Warrick Dunn. That pass was intercepted and killed a drive deep into Lions’ territory that could have put the game well out of reach. Vick opened the second half hitting TE Alge Crumpler for his second touchdown pass on a long seam route. Vick may have lucked out on the play as a Detroit linebacker tripped and fell down just before he had a chance to make a play on the ball.
Duckett’s first action came on at the end of the third Falcons’ possession. He had two carries inside the five yard line. The second carry was over left guard for a one yard touchdown plunge. Duckett got a chance to be the focus of the Atlanta offense at the open of the fourth quarter. He ran hard with great shoulder lean pounding the Lions defense for several long runs and first downs between the tackles.
|RB Warrick Dunn, Rush: 17 - 116 - 0, Rec: 1 - 0 - 0 (2 targets)|
Dunn looked quick and explosive busting through the large holes his offensive line opened for him. Dunn has returned to his typical “between the twenties” role now that a fully healthy T.J. Duckett is available to handle short yardage and goal line work. Dunn was the target at the end of the first half when QB Michael Vick threw his interception. The pass was thrown very poorly behind Dunn. He didn’t have a chance to make a play on the ball.
Griffith caught a 17 yard pass down the left sideline when QB Michael Vick scrambled his direction. Vick pulled the linebacker forward allowing Griffith to come open. Griffith was targeted at the goal line and nearly scored a touchdown, but instant replay overturned the call and put him down just short of the mark. Just before half time Griffith had a nice five yard run to pick up a first down.
White caught his first target on the first Falcons’ drive for nine yards. He didn’t see another pass until midway through the second quarter. He was open on the play, but QB Michael Vick was off target by several yards. White made the only two receptions by Falcons’ wide receivers in the game.
Finneran saw his only target at the end of the first Falcons’ drive in the corner of the end zone, but QB Michael Vick overthrew the pass and Finneran had no chance to make a play on the ball.
Jenkins started the game, but didn’t see his only target until midway through the third quarter.
Crumpler pulled in a 30 yard pass on the opening play of the game. He was targeted again of the first play of their next drive as well, but dropped a pass that hit him square in the chest. On the next drive Crumpler was wide open in the end zone, but QB Michael Vick over threw him. Crumpler caught three more passes before halftime, including a six yard touchdown. Vick scrambled to his left on the play while Crumpler followed him across the field. Vick was radar locked onto Crumpler and waited for him to pop open for the score. This trend continued through the first half as Crumpler saw ten targets on 18 passing attempts from Vick. Opening the third quarter Crumpler ran a deep seam route scoring his second touchdown on a 32 yard pass. A Detroit linebacker fell down on the play. Crumpler likely would have been destroyed or the pass may have been intercepted had the player not fallen down.
Peterson hit both of his field goal attempts in the game.
The Atlanta rush defense wasn’t really tested in the game. It didn’t take long for the Lions to give up on running the ball after they fell behind early. RB Kevin Jones only had four carries in the game (20, 5, 1, and 6 yards). Detroit attempted to pass the ball on first down to begin nearly every possession.
The Falcons’ pass rush got to Lions’ quarterbacks three times for sacks, but they were able to put some other major hits on Detroit signal callers in the game. All three sacks came near the end of the second quarter when Atlanta started to turn the game into a blowout. Atlanta cornerbacks were gifted two interceptions. The first came when WR Roy Williams fell down running a fly route. The other happened when WR Mike Williams ran a 15 yard hitch, but QB Jeff Garcia was expecting him to go deep and let fly with a long pass.
|QB Jeff Garcia, Pass: 14 - 24 - 154 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0|
Garcia entered the game at the end of the second quarter in an attempt to spark a stagnant Detroit offense. He completed a few short passes to WR Scott Vines and two dump offs to RB Shawn Bryson, but suffered the same fate as starter Joey Harrington. Multiple drops and a miscommunication with WR Mike Williams that resulted in another interception kept the Lions from being able to mount any sort of momentum. Garcia completed passes, but nothing down field, and nothing noteworthy. Midway through the fourth quarter Garcia faced an intense pass rush and inexplicably lofted a pass high in the air intended for no one in particular. The pass was intercepted, but he lucked out that there was a defensive holding penalty that negated the interception.
Harrington looked solid throwing the ball early in the game even though he started off completing four out of ten passing attempts. However, he didn’t get much help from his receivers. WR Roy Williams fell down on a fly route resulting in an interception, RB Shawn Bryson fumbled away a screen pass on the following drive, and two other dropped passes made his statistics look much worse than they should have been. Harrington got rid of the ball quickly and hit his targets coming out of their breaks, but he didn’t get much help from his receivers. Jeff Garcia replaced Harrington just before halftime.
|RB Shawn Bryson, Rush: 6 - 26 - 0, Rec: 5 - 18 - 0 (6 targets)|
Bryson was the featured runner on the second Detroit possession. He had a nice seven yard run over left guard. However, he fumbled after pulling in a screen pass killing the drive. As the Lions fell behind early in the game Bryson saw more action keeping starting RB Kevin Jones on the sideline. Bryson was in the game for the majority of the Lions’ snaps.
Jones looked quick and explosive breaking off a 20 yard run to the outside on the second Detroit play of the game. However, he had only two more carries before halftime as the Lions quickly abandoned the running game. Jones opened the third quarter with a nice six yard run, but quickly was back on the sideline again. Game announcers mentioned a quad injury that may have played a part in his lack of touches.
Pinner entered the game late in the third quarter. His first carry picked up a first down off right guard. He followed that up with a nice one handed catch for four yards in the right flat. Pinner had one other series late in the game. He had his second carry and second reception on that drive.
Vines continues to be the most productive Lions’ receiver even though he isn’t one of the heralded first round draft picks that litter the Lions’ receiving corps. He caught four passes on five targets in the first half. His 19 yard post pattern showed his ability to run crisp routes. QB Joey Harrington put the ball on him quickly as he came out of his break. Vines also pulled in both of his targets in the second half.
Williams saw his first target during the first quarter on a third and three. He wasn’t the primary receiver on the play, but did a nice job staying active and made himself available for a 15 yard reception. He then proceeded to drop two passes, and run a wrong route that resulted in an interception. Five of his six receptions occurred in the fourth quarter during garbage time.
Williams was targeted down the sideline on a fly pattern on the first Lions possession. CB DeAngelo Hall cut Williams off causing him to fall as their legs may have got tangled up. His only other target in the first half was on a rollout to his side of the field. Williams dropped a pass that hit him in the hands on the play. His 31 yard touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter was sort of a folly. The pass hit Williams in the hip, but the defensive back got a hand on the ball causing it to flip up into the air in from of Williams. The ball dropped into his hands in the end zone.
Rogers was virtually invisible in the first half, but was targeted twice on the opening drive of the third quarter. The first was knocked down at the line of scrimmage. The second one was dropped. He saw three other targets on the final drive of the game when backup QB Dan Orlovsky was in the game.
On the second Lions’ possession Pollard dropped his first target on a crossing route, but almost made up for it with a near reception on a leaping one handed attempt. Late in the game Pollard sat out and was replaced by backup TE Casey Fitzsimmons.
Hanson didn’t attempt a field goal in the game.
The Atlanta offensive line punished the Lions’ front seven. RB Warrick Dunn had holes he could drive a truck through. When Dunn was finished for the day backup RB T.J. Duckett entered the game and plowed over defenders instead of running around them. Add to this mix the 57 yards rushing out of QB Michael Vick and the Falcons posted an eye popping 256 total rushing yards.
The Lions’ pass rush was nonexistent. QB Michael Vick wasn’t pressured or hit more than a handful of times in the game. Also, when members of the Detroit secondary had a chance to make a play on a ball it always hit the ground instead of being intercepted.