ReFo: Lions @ Falcons, Week 8

Ben Stockwell highlights key performers in Sunday's early game from London, a one-point Detroit win over Atlanta.

| 3 years ago

ReFo: Lions @ Falcons, Week 8

2014-REFO-WK08-DET@ATLThe optimism of that Week 1 win over the New Orleans Saints must seem like a dwindling speck in the rear view mirror at this point for the Atlanta Falcons. Slipping to their fifth straight loss they came up with inexplicable play after inexplicable play conspiring to blow a three-touchdown lead over the Detroit Lions in the NFL’s latest transatlantic foray.

Courtesy of a second straight one-point win (it matters not by how much) the Lions ensure that they will at the very least keep pace with the Packers atop the NFC North in what is developing into a two-horse race. The Lions were not at their best but they took full advantage of whatever help the Falcons were willing to give them during the second half.

Detroit Lions – Performances of Note

Golden Tate, WR: +0.5 Receiving

Breakdown: Well used to performing without a dominant wideout opposite him in Seattle, Tate filled the void left by Calvin Johnson in a productive second half display. With only 23 yards at the half, Tate worked himself open and capitalized on the Falcons’ leaving him open to rack up 151 yards through the air, fueling the Lions’ comeback.

Signature Play: Got the Lions’ game-winning drive off to a fast start (Q4, 1:38) with a 32-yard gain working in between the linebackers and safeties, evading a hit from Dwight Lowery to gain some sneaky yards after the catch to extend the play.

Ndamukong Suh, DT: +3.9

Breakdown: His biggest play of the game was wiped from the box score due to a penalty in the secondary, but Suh put in a strong showing for a depleted Lions defensive line today. Perhaps not his most jaw-dropping performance by the stats or the grade, Suh was seemingly only controlled when the Falcons had two blockers on him, coming up with two stops and drawing a holding penalty inside the final two minutes in run defense.

Signature Play: The sack he lost came with 3:36 left in the third, defeating Jon Asamoah and taking down Matt Ryan almost before Rashean Mathis had the chance to commit his illegal contact on Julio Jones’ double move outside.

Joique Bell, RB: +2.4 & Theo Riddick, RB: +1.8

Breakdown: Carrying the load in Reggie Bush’s absence, Bell and Riddick proved the strength in depth in the Detroit backfield both on the ground and through the air. Bell forced four missed tackles on the ground but it was as threats out of the backfield exploiting mismatches on the Atlanta linebackers where these two shone.

Signature Play: Riddick delivered the signature play on the game-winning drive (Q4 1:07), shaking Paul Worrilow to get open inside before bringing in a one-handed grab on a throw in front for a 20-yard gain.

Atlanta Falcons – Performances of Note

Matt Ryan, QB: +0.3

Breakdown: A game of two halves for Ryan; on point and on target in the first half the wheels fell off with the rest of his team in the second half. Victim of a pair of strip sacks and throwing a truly baffling interception at the end of the third, Ryan was far from blameless in allowing the Lions to climb back into the game even if his mistakes weren’t ultimately decisive in the defeat.

Signature Stat: On passes aimed 10 or more yards downfield, Ryan went 6-of-8 for 87 yards and a touchdown.

Paul Worrilow, LB: -6.6

Breakdown: Racking up the tackles just as he did last season but the Lions were able to get a lot of joy out of passes around Worrilow and he was all too easily controlled in run defense as well. A forced fumble at the start of the second quarter mark was his high-water mark followed up by a trio of missed tackles and 77 yards surrendered in primary coverage.

Signature Stat: Among the league’s most targeted linebackers (42 targets on 250 coverage snaps) Worrilow is surrendering 1.62 yards per coverage snap; third-worst in the league among inside linebackers.

Osi Umenyiora, DE: +3.3

Breakdown: A solid display by Umenyiora but at the same time symptomatic of the Falcons’ defensive displays, just not good enough. Umenyiora had the better of Riley Reiff (1 Ht, 4 Hu) for much of the game but couldn’t capitalize with a decisive play at any point.

Signature Play: The closest he came was forcing a field goal attempt at 8:04 in the third by hitting Stafford’s arm as he threw to force an incompletion.

PFF Game Ball

For their work out of the backfield all game long, Theo Riddick and Joique Bell take this week’s PFF Game Ball back home across the Atlantic.


Follow Ben on Twitter: @PFF_Ben

| Director of Analysis

Ben joined Pro Football Focus in 2007, and has since been in charge of the company’s analysis process. He also contributes to PFF’s weekly NFL podcast.

  • Dildo Baggins

    If there was such a thing as a FA Signing Of The Year, Golden Tate would get 51 out of 50 votes.

    • Josh Knepshield

      Really? I’d take Cromartie from ARZ.

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        • Chris

          ZOMG A KIA CADENZA?!? Where do I sign up???

          • Troll Chris

            Your mother’s basement. Hey, you’re already in it.

          • Chris

            Lul come on br0 you can do better than this weaksauce.

      • eYeDEF

        Seriously? Do you think Cromartie is really having an impact on Arizona’s 31st ranked pass defense that is conceding 284.8 passing yards a game? I’d say Golden Tate is doing much more for Detroit’s pass offense than Cromartie is for Arizona’s pass defense.

        • Chris

          Mike Vick IMO

          • eYeDEF

            lol! Actually I think you’re onto something. Given how Vick improved upon Geno’s 0.004 QBR yesterday to finish with a titanic QBR of 19, that makes Vick’s shitty performance still 475 times the QBR of what Geno was capable of doing. No matter how you slice it, that is high impact. But first I’d like to see him sustain that astronomical edge for the rest of the season. That might not sound too challenging until you consider the person you’re having to depend on is Michael Vick.

        • Kent Lee Platte

          Yeah, not really much comparison to Tate in terms of FA impact.

      • Terry Welsh

        Who Josh lmao?

        • Josh Knepshield

          You know, the top-10 rated CB in the league this year who is outplaying Patrick Peterson, who is making much, much more money.

  • Dohkay

    Can’t wait to see the offense once Calvin and the three TEs return. Bush can ride the pine. Riddick is outplaying him.

    • Kent Lee Platte

      I’m pretty much done with both “starting” backs for Detroit. Despite the PFF love, Joique Bell has been pretty awful this season. Plays one good quarter a game, takes the other 75% off. A useful player, who should still get carries, but if I’m Detroit I am putting RB near the top of my 2015 acquisitions list.

  • Dr. Martin van Nostrand

    This entire game, but especially the last few minutes, won’t be showing up in a coaching guide or seminar anytime soon other than “do the complete opposite of this, and this, and that…”.

    • RustyHilgerReborn

      Agree.It’s like Smith and Caldwell were in a race to make the most coaching mistakes possible on that last drive.

      • Terry Welsh

        Have to disagree. Last year Schwartz lost three games with less than a 30 seconds left in the game because he threw the ball on third down or they got a penalty with loss of down.

    • Dildo Baggins

      I still have no idea why the Lions ran the ball on 3rd down with 17 seconds to go and no timeouts. They got saved by the holding call on Soliai, but that was god awful.

      • Terry Welsh

        To run out the clock Dildo. They could have made it out there to kick a field go in 13 seconds.

        • Dildo Baggins

          And how is that a good idea when you suck at kicking FGs? When you are 3-400 on 30+ FGs, you dont rush it.