Detroit 21
 Atlanta atl.jpg - 9273 Bytes 34


Detroit 21Atlanta 34
September 07, 2008Georgia Dome-Attendance: 62,310 (71,228) Time: 2:49
Scoring Summary
 ATL TD 13:33 Matt Ryan pass completion to the left to Michael Jenkins for 62 yards for a touchdown.06
 ATL PAT 13:33 Jason Elam extra point attempt is good.07
 ATL TD 7:33 Michael Turner rush to the left for 66 yards for a touchdown.013
 ATL PAT 7:33 Jason Elam extra point attempt is good.014
 ATL TD 3:20 Michael Turner rush to the left for 5 yards for a touchdown.020
 ATL PAT 3:20 Jason Elam extra point attempt is good.021
 DET TD 4:06 Kevin Smith rush up the middle for 3 yards for a touchdown.621
 DET PAT 4:06 Jason Hanson extra point attempt is good.721
 DET TD 0:16 Jon Kitna pass completion to the right to Roy Williams for 21 yards for a touchdown.1321
 DET PAT 0:16 Jason Hanson extra point attempt is good.1421
 ATL FG 9:45 Jason Elam 50 yard field goal attempt is good.1424
 ATL TD 5:57 Jerious Norwood rush to the left for 10 yards for a touchdown.1430
 ATL PAT 5:57 Jason Elam extra point attempt is good.1431
 DET TD 1:40 Jon Kitna pass completion to the right to Casey FitzSimmons for 1 yard for a touchdown.2031
 DET PAT 1:40 Jason Hanson extra point attempt is good.2131
 ATL FG 10:23 Jason Elam 25 yard field goal attempt is good.2134

 Detroit Passing
 J. Kitna24/332627.921
 Atlanta Passing
 M. Ryan9/1316112.410
 Detroit Rushing
 K. Smith16483.0110
 R. Johnson3144.7012
 J. Kitna200.008
 Atlanta Rushing
 M. Turner2222010.0266
 J. Norwood14936.6117
 M. Ryan5-2-0.402
 H. Douglas177.007
 Detroit Receiving
 C. Johnson710715.3038
 K. Smith4328.0012
 S. McDonald4297.3011
 R. Williams34715.7121
 M. Furrey2147.0012
 M. Gaines2115.506
 C. FitzSimmons111.011
 D. Campbell12121.0021
 Atlanta Receiving
 R. White25427.0046
 J. Norwood263.003
 M. Jenkins16262.0162
 M. Turner166.006
 J. Peelle11313.0013
 O. Mughelli133.003
 B. Hartsock11717.0017
 Detroit Tackles
 D. Smith8620-0
 E. Sims6510-0
 G. Alexander4400-0
 J. Dizon6420-0
 K. Pearson4400-0
 A. Lewis3300-0
 C. Redding3300-0
 P. Lenon3300-0
 J. DeVries3300-0
 L. Bodden4310-0
 T. Fisher2200-0
 C. Darby3210-0
 R. Nece2200-0
 S. Cody2200-0
 R. Johnson1100-0
 B. Kelly1100-0
 D. White2111-5
 D. Bullocks1100-0
 Atlanta Tackles
 B. Grimes6600-0
 M. Boley7610-0
 E. Coleman6600-0
 L. Milloy5500-0
 J. Abraham4403-16
 G. Jackson4310-0
 J. Babineaux3300-0
 C. Houston3300-0
 C. Lofton4220-0
 C. Jackson2200-0
 K. Brooking3210-0
 J. Norwood2200-0
 C. Wire1100-0
 O. Mughelli1100-0
 A. Jennings1100-0
 C. Davis2110-0
 S. Nicholas1100-0
 K. Moorehead1100-0
 Detroit Interceptions
 Atlanta Interceptions
 L. Milloy13838.0380
 Detroit Punting
 N. Harris625542.52
 Team 625542.52
 Atlanta Punting
 M. Koenen311538.30
 Team 311538.30
 Detroit Punt Returns
 Atlanta Punt Returns
 A. Jennings5153100
 Detroit Kickoff Returns
 M. Furrey23015160
 M. Thomas49323.3270
 Atlanta Kickoff Returns
 J. Norwood26532.5340
 B. Wilkerson11010100
 Detroit Fumbles
 J. Kitna1010
 Atlanta Fumbles
 Detroit Missed Field Goals
 NONE        -
 Atlanta Missed Field Goals
 NONE        -

Team Stat Comparison
 1st Downs21 23 
   3rd down efficiency2-9 3-9 
   4th down efficiency0-0 0-0 
 Total Yards308 474 
 Passing246 156 
   Comp-Att24-33 9-13 
   Yards per pass6.8 11.1 
 Rushing62 318 
   Rushing Attempts21 42 
   Yards per rush3.0 7.6 
 Penalties5-30 7-68 
 Sacks against3-16 1-5 
     Fumbles-lost1-0 0-0 
     Interceptions thrown
 Possession30:53 29:07 


Ryan and Turner have quite a debut in Atlanta

ATLANTA (AP) -Matt Ryan hopped down the field to celebrate after his first NFL pass, knocking down teammate Todd McClure along the way.

That was about the only stumble as the Atlanta Falcons started a new era.

The new quarterback did just fine. The new running back looked like an All-Pro. The new coach was beaming.

Ryan became the first quarterback in eight years to throw for a touchdown with his first pass, Michael Turner rushed for a team-record 220 yards and the Atlanta Falcons put Michael Vick in their rearview mirror with a 34-21 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

''We wanted a fast start, and I thought we did that,'' said Mike Smith, who had never been a head coach at any level until the Falcons gave him a shot.

Indeed, Atlanta scored on its first three possessions for a 21-0 lead. Ryan, the third overall selection in the draft, looked worthy of the starting job bestowed on him after just three preseason games. In keeping with that numerical theme, he hooked up with Michael Jenkins on the third snap of the game for a 62-yard touchdown pass.

The running game did most of the damage, with Turner handling the bulk of the load. Atlanta's big free-agent signee broke off a 66-yard touchdown, scored again on a 5-yard romp and had another TD called back by a penalty. Even with that setback, he averaged 10 yards on his carries to break the team record of 202 yards set by Gerald Riggs in 1984.

''I always wondered what it would feel like to break a record,'' said Turner, who also set an NFL record for most yards by a runner in his first game with a new team. ''It just happened.''

The Lions resembled, well, the Lions. They bickered among themselves on the sideline, showed just how meaningless the preseason is (they had won all four exhibition games) and slipped to 31-82 since the start of the 2001 season. They surrendered a staggering 318 yards rushing, allowing the Falcons to break their franchise record.

''It happened, and it was bad,'' coach Rod Marinelli said.

The Falcons decided to start over after Vick was caught up in a dogfighting scandal last year. He pleaded guilty to federal charges and headed off to serve a nearly two-year sentence, leaving his former team to struggle through a dismal 4-12 season.

Afterward, the team brought in a new general manager (Thomas Dimitroff), hired a new coach and used its first pick on Ryan, who was quickly anointed Vick's successor.

So far, so good.

Atlanta took the opening kickoff and handed the ball to Turner on its first two snaps. Then, Ryan found Jenkins on a slant over the middle, hitting him in stride at the Detroit 45 and watching him streak all the way to the end zone ahead of Travis Fisher and Gerald Alexander.

Ryan raced down the field to celebrate, knocking over McClure when he jumped on the center's back. Michael Bishop was the last quarterback to throw for a touchdown in his first NFL pass, doing it with New England in 2000, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

''I was fired up,'' said Ryan, who completed his first five passes and finished 9-of-13 for 161 yards. ''You have to play this game with emotion.''

While Bishop lasted only one year in the league - and it would be his lone TD pass - the Falcons are counting on a much longer stay for Ryan.

''He didn't seem like a rookie,'' Turner said. ''He took control of the huddle. He made all the right calls. He was a real drill sergeant out there. He was letting everyone know he was in control.''

With Norwood chipping in to rush for 93 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown that gave Atlanta a 31-14 lead late in the third quarter, the Falcons averaged 7.6 yards per run on their 42 carries.

Jon Kitna threw a couple of touchdown passes for the Lions, hitting Roy Williams from 21 yards and Casey FitzSimmons on a 1-yard score, but Detroit gave few indications they are over last season's 1-7 finish, which ruined a 6-2 start.

Kitna also was seen jawing on the sideline with receivers coach Shawn Jefferson, though they appeared to make up when Jefferson patted the quarterback on the head.

''That happens every week, to be honest,'' Kitna said. ''Usually it's just not on camera.''

Notes: The Falcons previous team rushing record was 306 yards against Tampa Bay in 2006. ... Rookie Kevin Smith led Detroit with 48 yards rushing. Rudi Johnson, signed just before the season, had only three carries for 14 yards. ... Lions WR Calvin Johnson, a former star at nearby Georgia Tech, had seven catches for 107 yards in his homecoming.

Scott's Game Commentary:

Shame on me for buying into the preseason hype. After the Lions finished the preseason at 4-0 and seeing how the starters played, I thought the 2008 season might actually be something worth looking forward to. Leading up to the game, I was eating the cornbread and even saying winning the division is possible. Lets just say I take all that back! Could have the 2008 season started off anymore pathetic? Wasn't this supposed to be an improved defense??? It was more of the same old crap we saw last year in road games against Philadelpha, Minnesota and San Diego just to name a few. How could the Defense look so dominant in the preseason and so pathetic against a rookie QB making his first start? I don't even need to comment on the Defense yielding over 300 yards on the ground to two career backup running backs. As for the Offense, they did score three touchdowns but Jon Kitna had two major mental breakdowns that killed two drives. His interception was inexcusable since there was no one open and sliding a yard shy of a first down was comical. Marinelli was praising the Lions for their hard work and effort in the preseason but what could he say about this game? The bottom line was the honolulu blue and silver were not prepared for their first game against what could and should very well be the easist opponent they play on the road this year. The Lions keep saying "Do you believe?" The answer after game one is I do believe they could be in for another long season with the same old crap we have seen every year since Millen took over in 2001.


*Offense: --- C. The Offense had a great second quarter thanks in the most part to a great catch Roy Williams had in the end zone. But other than that they could only muster a single touchdown against a mediocre defense. Calvin Johnson had over 100 yards receiving and continues to show he is in store for a great season. Kevin Smith had his first NFL touchdown but for the most part had no where to run. The offensive line continued to look awful but that has been the case for quite sometime. Until they improve as a unit, the running game will continue to suffer.

*Defense: --- F-. What more is there to say on yet another pathetic and embarrassing effort. They gave up over 300 yards rushing which in itself is darn right sickening. The Defense was over hauled in the offseason to try and patch up the 2007 version which was if not the worst Defense I have ever seen. This years version does not look much better. If Atlanta can rack up almost 500 yards on them, it is going to be scary to think what other teams will. This could be another long year for a unit that lacks talent and has one decent player in Ernie Sims, who of course left the game on a cart.

*Special Teams: --- C. Coverage was spotty as usual and Mike Furrey loved to make fair catches. Nick Harris had a solid day punting and had two kicks inside the 20.

*Coaching: --- F. The Lions were not prepared to face a team they should have beaten. There are no excuses for the Lions not to be ready to play the Falcons and that falls squarely on the coaches. I know they want to try and establish a running game but what good is it when you don't have an offensive line that can block?

*Overall: --- F. Every single year I buy into the preseason hype and think maybe this could be the season the Lions turn the page. Sadly, I think we are in store for another 5 to 7 win season if today's game was any indication of things to come. The Offense should put up points but if Turner and Norwood could combine for over 300 yards, just imagine what will happen when they face better running backs? Michael Grant and Frank Gore must be licking their chops. Up next are the Green Bay Packers without Favre and this is a game I originally thought the Lions would win. But after the disaster in Atlanta, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Lions start off 0-2 and on the road for another long season.

*Click HERE to go back to my LIONS page!!