Score: Atlanta 27, Detroit 23
First-team highlights: The Detroit Lions won the coin toss and elected to take the football.
Quarterback Jared Goff orchestrated a 10-play, 79-yard drive that culminated with a 9-yard D'Andre Swift touchdown. Goff was 3-for-4 for 47 yards on the drive with his only incompletion being a drop. It was a very efficient night for him.
Swift rushed four times for 20 yards on the drive. The Lions rushed for 32 yards total on the possession as the offensive line did a great job moving people and creating holes.
The start for the first-team defense wasn't as crisp, however.
Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota and the Falcons run game exploited Detroit's edges a few times and went 82 yards in 12 plays taking nine minutes and 27 seconds off the clock. Atlanta rushed for 61 yards on the drive, with Mariota accounting for 23 of those, including a 6-yard touchdown to end the drive.
The majority of first-teamers on both sides of the ball played one series.
Second-team highlights: Quarterback Tim Boyle's 45-yard completion to wide receiver Kalif Raymond helped set up kicker Austin Seibert's 46-yard field goal on the second-team offense's first drive of the game, giving the Lions a 10-7 lead.
After a punt on Boyle's second possession, he led an impressive 11-play, 69-yard drive right before the end of the first half that ended with his 1-yard scoring strike to tight end Devin Funchess on the fade to the corner of the end zone. Boyle led four series and scored on two of them (10 points). He finished 9-of-16 for 111 yards with a touchdown, but had a costly interception deep inside Lions territory that turned into a Falcons field goal as the second quarter clock expired. Boyle finished the night with a 72.7 passer rating.
The Lions' second-team defense forced a punt on their first drive. Atlanta's offensive reserves started their second drive on their 45-yard line and took just seven plays to go 55 yards into the end zone, capped off by a Desmond Ridder to tight end Parker Hesse 1-yard pass that gave the Falcons a 14-10 lead.
Atlanta added a field goal right before the half after the Boyle interception to tie the score at 17-17 after the first 30 minutes, but it was a nice job by the defense to forced the field goal.
Third-team highlights: David Blough took over at quarterback midway through the third quarter with a mix of second and third-team guys to begin his night. He opened by leading a 14-play, 71-yard drive that stalled deep in Falcons territory, but led to a 27-yard Riley Patterson field goal and a 20-20 tie.
Blough led another impressive 17-play drive on his second possession, but again stalled inside the 10-yard line. Detroit had to settle for a 28-yard Patterson field goal to go up 23-20 with just under six minutes to play. Up 23-20 late, Blough fumbled away the football as the Lions were trying to kill off the clock. It was recovered by Atlanta at the Lions' 33. That led to the winning touchdown by Atlanta. Blough got one more chance at a comeback but his Hail Mary at the final whistle was incomplete. Blough finished 18-of-28 for 141 yards with a 76.6 rating.
The defense did a nice job to hold Atlanta to two three-and-out punts early in their night, but following the Blough fumble, they couldn't keep Atlanta out of the end zone for the winning score.
Rookie report: Not a bad debut for No. 2 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson. He recorded a tackle and a tackle for loss on his first two plays of the game. He played both inside and outside during that first defensive series.
Wide receiver Jameson Williams (NFI), defensive lineman Josh Paschal (PUP) and tight end James Mitchell did not play.
Safety Kerby Joseph had a nice debut with six tackles and one special teams tackle, linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez had one tackle and one special teams tackle while getting some first-team reps on defense, linebacker James Houston had one tackle, and cornerback Chase Lucas had a nice late pass deflection and tackle.
Undrafted wide receiver Kalil Pimpleton had a nice 7-yard catch on a 4th and 3 play midway through fourth quarter. He had three catches for 15 yards. He looked to lose sight of a punt in the fourth quarter, however, letting it bounce and putting the Lions in a hole at their 10-yard line.
Who we didn't see: There were a number of players not currently on PUP or NFI that didn't take part in Friday's preseason opener. Some have been dealing with injuries recently. The list included: Tight end T.J. Hockenson, wide receiver Quintez Cephus, defensive lineman Levi Onwuzurike, linebacker Julian Okwara, safety Ifeatu Melifonwu and tight end James Mitchell.
Injury report: Nothing serious to report for the Lions.
Next up: At Indianapolis, Aug. 20, 1 p.m.