Sunday, October 23, 2011
Wrap-up: Falcons 23, Lions 16
By Kevin Seifert
A few thoughts on the Detroit Lions' second consecutive loss:
What it means: After a 4-0 start, the Lions were thrilled to have three consecutive home games. But they finished their "homestand" 1-2 and are now 5-2 on the year. A few players got in some pregame shoving during warm-ups, but for the most part the Falcons had the Lions on their heels all afternoon. You never know how playoff scenarios will develop, but the Lions have now lost to a pair of NFC teams -- the Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers -- who figure to be in the postseason hunt at the end of the season. Conference record is a critical tiebreaker in the wild-card race. The Lions are also just one game ahead of the Chicago Bears.
StaffordWatch: Quarterback Matthew Stafford, and most of the Lions' offense, looked off to me. Stafford completed less than 50 percent of his passes, underthrew Calvin Johnson on what would have been a touchdown in the second quarter and was lucky not to have another second-quarter pass intercepted after a miscommunication with rookie receiver Titus Young. And the incomplete pass intended for Brandon Pettigrew on fourth down did nothing to dissuade from the fact he can be an unreliable clutch receiver. But it starts with Stafford, and his worst two starts of the season have coincided with the Lions' first two losses.
MegatronWatch: Johnson's 57-yard touchdown in the third quarter gave him 10 through seven games this season. In the past two weeks, however, he's fallen off his NFL record pace. His current pace would leave him with an unimpressive 22 scores over 16 games.
Harrison update: In case you missed it, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported positive news after running back Jerome Harrison's surgery Friday. Doctors believe they removed all of the tumor, which was diagnosed as an ependymoma in the fourth ventricle of Harrison's brain. He also was found to have a condition known as arteriovenous malformation, an abnormal connection between veins and arteries. It could have contributed to the tumor's growth.
What's next: The Lions will play at the Denver Broncos next Sunday.