Interesting start to this second quarter. The Lions began the quarter having just lost the lead after allowing the Falcons to score a touchdown, which itself was forced by a timely turnover on special teams (timely for Atlanta, that is).
So, the Lions finally had achieved their first first-down of the game, and were driving deep into Atlanta territory. Then on third and seven, there was some apparent miscommunication between Stafford and Titus Young, and Stafford threw to a wide open Brent Grimes in the end zone. Like, Grimes was all alone. And he dropped what was a "gimme" interception.
It's not the end of the world, but it could have kept the Lions from scoring at all. Instead Jason Hanson would hit his second field goal of the day, cutting the Falcons lead to 10-6.
The Falcons took over on offense, and managed to manufacture a long, methodical drive that took some time off the clock, but yet again Matt Ryan looked pretty shaky. He was then sacked by Cliff Avril on third-down for a nine-yard loss, effectively killing the drive. On the plus side, Matt Bosher continues to look better: he pinned the Lions inside their own 10-yard line.
The Lions took over again, and after the defense allowed a 25-yard gain on a Stafford-Johnson connection, on the very next play Brent Grimes made an absolutely beautiful play to jump up and at the highest point tip the ball out of Calvin Johnson's grasp. More miscommunication between Stafford and Titus Young would end the Lions' drive.
And then the Falcons would put together what I would call their best offensive drive of the season. With 3:30 left in the half, Matt Ryan would lead the offense on seven-play, 81-yard scoring drive (I should mention, this was all while running the no-huddle). It was flawless execution and mistake-free, highlighted by a 30-yard pass to Tony Gonzalez and a 19-yard run by Michael Turner.
To cap off the drive, Ryan- who has struggled with the deep ball all year- made probably his best throw of the year. On a second down pass out of shotgun, Ryan hit Roddy White in stride on a deep corner route in the back of the end zone (over ex-Falcon Chris Houston, I might add).
With that score, the Falcons enter halftime with a 17-6 lead over the (5-1) Detroit Lions. As I said, it has not been a pretty game. But the defense has been fantastic. The offense has been able to put capitalize on turnovers, and Ryan put together a great two-minute drill at the end of the half. And for once, the Falcons have gotten great play out of Eric Weems and special teams.
Should the Falcons be able to make it through the dreaded third quarter and cut down on the penalties, the Dirty Birds just might walk out of Ford Field with a win. Stay tuned.