While a lot of people were concerned entering the season with a rookie QB in Matt Ryan, there is one thing the Falcons have to feel good about today, that being the running of new feature back Michael Turner. The new Falcons back may be the story of opening weekend as he rumbled past the Lions defense leading the Falcons to a 34-21 win.
Turner, who came to the team from San Diego in free agency, ran for touchdowns of 66 and five yards. He helped the Falcons build a 21-0 lead in the second quarter, a lead that at one point would get close at 21-14 before the Falcons offense got back on track scoring 13 points to put the game away.
As for the rookie QB in Ryan, he was good enough to get the job done. He went 9-for-13 for 161 yards with a touchdown. His early throw to Michael Jenkins that covered 62 yards got the Falcons going less than two minutes into the game to make it 7-0. Turner’s two scores stunned the Lions, making it 21-0 late in the first quarter.
Detroit, who went 4-0 in the preseason, came back with two scores to cut it to 21-14. Kevin Smith ran for a three-yard score to make it 21-7, then with :16 left in the half Jon Kitna teammed up with Roy Williams on a pretty catch from 21 yards out to make it 21-14.
The Falcons probably got a lashing from coach Mike Smith at the half, and responded to it, as they came out in the third quarter and scored 10 third quarter points to make it 31-14. Jason Elam booted a 50-yard field goal to make it 24-14. Then after a Detroit three-and-out, the Falcons basically iced it with a Jerious Norwood TD, ending a 5-play, 68-yard drive that made it 31-14.
The Falcons offense made minced meat of the Lions, putting up 474 yards, 318 rushing and 156 in the air. The defense did allow 308 yards, but never lost the lead and brought it with both sides of the ball all day long. The Lions will be at home to host the Packers next Sunday in their home opener. The Falcons will look to keep the momentum as they head to play the 0-1 Bucs at 4:05pm.