The Falcons 23-16 victory over the Detroit Lions was one that came in very typical Falcons fashion: a highly-contested, physical game that stayed close right to the very end. The Falcons escaped the dreaded third quarter with only a little hurt, and the offense was able to do just enough to come away with the win.
Defense and special teams, however, have finally started giving us highlights to appreciate. The front four got great pressure on Stafford all day, tallying three sacks and five QB hits, along with an impressive eight pass deflections. And then there was Eric Weems, who had a phenomenal day: in addition to a 37-yard punt return, he also managed a kick return to the house (that was, predictably, called back due to penalty). Matt Bryant stayed perfect on the year, going three-for-three on field goal tries.
Full highlights after the jump:
Falcons @ Lions Week 7 2011 Highlights (via FreeNFLHighlights)
Probably one of the most overlooked plays of the game, in my humble opinion, was Akeem Dent's forced fumble on special teams. The Falcons would recover, giving them excellent field position and ultimtely leading the the one-yard Matt Ryan touchdown.
Then in the waning minutes of the first half, the offense would score their second and final touchdown of the day (on a seven play, 81-yard drive no less). Ryan would find Tony Gonzalez on a 30-yard pass, and then finish the job with a beautiful 18-yard completion to Roddy White in the back of the end zone.
From then onwards, it was all defense. Well, that and Calvin Johnson gaining lots of yards. In all fairness, "Megatron" just might be the best receiver in the league though, so you have to credit Brent Grimes for basically shutting him down in the first half. The 50-yard strike to Johnson was probably more the collective fault of safeties DeCoud and Moore than it was Grimes'.
And then there was that scary play involving Will Svitek stepping on Ryan's twisted ankle. Avert your eyes, those of weak constitutions, because it's pretty gruesome to watch. But somehow, Ryan came back into the game after missing only a few plays.
What's more, on his first play back from injury Ryan would find Harry Douglas on a 49-yard passing play, leading to a crucial field goal. He may have thrown two INTs, but Ryan at least gets an "A" for effort in this one. All in all, it was a great day in Falcons land to see this team stick it out, play a complete game and come away with the win.