Wed, 25 Nov 2020

O'HARA: What we learned from Week 7

Detroit Lions
28 Oct 2020, 00:25 GMT+10

Mike OHara

If you think you've seen things from the Detroit Lions that you'll never see again --- including a game-winning 48-yard extra point - think again.

If you've followed the Lions for any period of time, you've seen a version of that kick before.

That's one of the things we learned in the Lions' 23-22 win over the Atlanta Falcons.

Among the other things we learned include the following: In the fourth-quarter roller coaster ride of ups and downs, two remarkable defensive plays shouldn't be forgotten; projections of what the Lions' won-loss record had to be for them to be in the playoff race after a 1-3 start proved accurate.

We start with the kick that we've seen before.

The similarities between what we saw Sunday in Atlanta and in 2014 on the Lions' first trip to London to play a regular-season game are eerily the same.

The Falcons were the same opponent in both games.

Both games were won by the Lions on long drives engineered by quarterback Matthew Stafford.

It was 63 yards on 11 plays, starting with 1:38 left in 2014. It was 75 yards on eight plays, starting with 1:04 left Sunday. Stafford's 11-yard pass to tight end T.J Hockenson on the last play of regulation time made it 22-22. Matt Prater kicked the super-sized winning extra point.

The distance on Prater's winning kicks was identical: 48 yards on a field goal in 2014, 48 on an extra point Sunday.

And the Lions caught a break to have a chance to win both games.

On Sunday, it was Falcons running back Todd Gurley falling across the goal line for a touchdown to give the Lions a chance to mount the winning drive. In 2014, Prater missed his first field-goal attempt from 43 yards, but the play was nullified by a false start against the Lions.

With a second chance, Prater came through.

The irony of the two games: The Falcons helped the Lions Sunday by scoring a game-losing touchdown; in 2014, the Lions helped themselves by committing a penalty that wiped out a missed kick.

KEY QUESTIONS: How has the defensive line performed the last two weeks? TIM AND MIKE: Week 7 observations O'HARA'S MONDAY COUNTDOWN: Sunday's game another example of Golladay's impact

Two for the defense: Trey Flowers looked like an oversized safety, not a 265-pound defensive end when he batted down a pass on fourth down to keep the Falcons from adding to their 14-13 lead.

The Falcons had fourth and five at the Lions' 13 yard line with 12:01 left when they elected to bypass a field-goal attempt and go for the first down.

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan threw a pass intended for running back Ito Smith, who looked like he was open to Ryan's left. Flowers was in coverage and jumped to swat the ball away with his right hand.

Later in the fourth quarter, Flowers recovered the fumble after defensive end Romeo Okwara striped it away from Ryan on one of his two sacks.

The possession after Flowers' pass breakup ended in a missed field goal by Prater. He connected from 49 yards after the sack and forced fumble to give the Lions a 16-14 lead.

Standings: The mission was for the Lions to beat the Jaguars and Falcons to get to 3-3 when they came out of their bye with a 1-3 record.

Mission accomplished. They're in position to make a playoff run, and it should help them that six of their remaining 10 games are at home.

The problem with that is that the Lions were 2-6 at Ford Field in 2019, and they're 0-2 this year.

As we've learned, things can change.

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