Lions mount wild comeback to stun Falcons in London

The Falcons hit London like a house on fire on Sunday morning, building a big lead before the Lions came roaring back. Here's what you need to know from Detroit's thrilling 22-21 win over Atlanta at Wembley Stadium:

  1. This was a tale of two halves. Matt Ryan and the Falcons owned the first two quarters, overpowering Detroit's top-ranked defense to forge a 21-0 lead at the break over the sleepy Lions. Matt Ryan was pristine out of the gate, standing strong in the pocket to complete 14 of his first 17 passes to seven different targets for 160 yards and two scores. The attack slowed to a halt from there, while the Falcons' defense crumbled to allow 22 unanswered points, capped by Matt Prater's game-winning 48-yard field goal as time expired.
  1. That game-winning boot didn't come without plenty of drama as Prater's first attempt from 43 yards was wide -- but saved by a delay of game flag on Detroit. With another try, Prater was money.
  1. Across the way, Matthew Stafford was a mess for two-plus quarters before drawing Detroit back into the game with five straight scoring drives. His pretty 59-yard scoring strike to Golden Tate in the third quarter gave Stafford 119 career touchdowns with the Lions, snapping Bobby Layne's ancient franchise record. Without Megatron, Reggie Bush and his top three tight ends, though, Stafford threw a slew of ugly passes and made plenty of head-scratching decisions. His ball placement can make life tough for Detroit's wideouts, but give Stafford credit: He did enough to give the Lions life.
  1. This was not a well-coached game by either team, but our biggest beef was Jim Caldwell's penchant for conservative play. Detroit opted for field goals on two separate possessions inside the Atlanta 10. Traditionalists might disagree, but the Lions could have climbed back into the game in a hurry had they dialed up a touchdown on either series.
  1. Golden Tate continues to look like an absolute gem of a free-agent signing for Detroit. Dialing up his fourth 100-yard outing in five games, Tate remains a strong candidate to lead the NFL in catches. He blew past Falcons safety Kemal Ishmael on the touchdown grab but failed to haul in the ball on a key two-point conversion pass attempt from Stafford that left Detroit down 21-19 with four minutes left. He was clearly interfered with on the play, but the officials didn't catch it.
  1. The Lions couldn't run the ball to save their lives early, but Joique Bell moved the chains and gave Detroit energy on the ground in the second half. For Atlanta, Steven Jackson's box score numbers won't jump off the page, but the aging runner helped the Falcons build their first-half lead with a smattering of effective, leg-churning dashes through Detroit's front seven. The Falcons' ground game, though, fell apart down the stretch.
  1. Detroit's top-ranked defense tightened up in the second half, but losingNick Fairley is a killer. The behemoth defensive tackle was ruled out with a right knee injury after colliding awkwardly with teammate Ndamukong Suh in the second quarter. It's an ugly loss for the Lions, who were forced to turn to fifth-round tackle Caraun Reid after C.J. Mosley was shipped home Saturday with a two-game suspension for violating team rules.

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