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Falcons vs. Lions: Atlanta defense comes up big

The Falcons' defense did what it needed for a win Saturday, coughing up over 500 yards, but allowing only one touchdown.

Gregory Shamus

A week after a dominating 34-0 win over the New York Giants, the Atlanta Falcons clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a 31-18 win over the Detroit Lions on Saturday.

It was the defense that came up big for the Falcons. Despite being outgained 522-344, Atlanta's defense made its mark as it has all season: by making key stops and forcing turnovers.

The Falcons' defense held Detroit to two field goals of less than 40 yards in the first half: a 34-yarder in the first quarter and a 38-yard make in the second quarter.

A fourth-quarter Lions field goal from 20 yards meant that the Lions had three drives stopped short of the end zone from inside the 21-yard line.

The Falcons also got three turnovers Saturday, the second straight game in which Atlanta has forced three, according to Falcons.com. Asante Samuel intercepted a Matthew Stafford pass in the fourth quarter on a drive in which the Lions could have pulled within one possession.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.