Known for his late fourth-quarter heroics, Detroit Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford is the last person in the league you want to turn over the ball to when the game is on the line. But Atlanta Falcons did it regardless on Sunday night and now have a 23-22 defeat to show for.
Entering the final two minutes of the contest against the Lions, Falcons looked in good shape to win the game and feel better about their disappointing season. Trailing two points, Atlanta had first-and-goal at Detroit’s 10-yard line. They needed to run down the clock and kick a near-goal field goal to take it all home.
But things took a bad turn for the Falcons quickly.
With 1:12 left in the contest, running back Todd Gurley received a hand-off and was offered a clear path to the end zone by Detroit Lions D-line. Gurley knew he was baited and attempted to stop himself short of the goal line. However, the momentum made him break the plain, and he ended up scoring the touchdown Atlanta didn’t want.
With 1:04 on the clock, Stafford received the ball and went to work. Not having the convenience of a single timeout, the 32-year-old marched his offense 75 yards down the field and found T.J. Hockenson in the endzone with no time left on the clock to add another big comeback to his resume.
Matthew Stafford now has 30 fourth-quarter comebacks, which is the eighth-most in the history of the league.
“We were up against the clock as good as you could be, and guys made plays,” said Stafford after the game. “I love doing that. That’s my favorite part about playing the game. I love this game, I love competing, and there’s no more competitive, pressure-packed situation than whatever it was, (second)-and-goal from the (11)-yard line with no time left. I mean, that’s what you live for as a quarterback.”
With this win, Lions managed to keep themselves in playoff contention with a 3-3 record. Falcons, on the other hand, are now 1-6.