Rock-solid Ryan elevates Falcons over Lions; 23-16

Matt Ryan ran and threw for touchdowns to give the Falcons a double-digit lead in the first half, and they held on to beat the Lions 23-16 on Sunday.

On Detroit’s final drive, a pass-interference penalty against Atlanta was overturned because instant replay showed defensive tackle Corey Peters had tipped the ball. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford appeared to injure his right ankle on the play.

He then throw incomplete on fourth down from the Atlanta 41 and limped off the field.

The Falcons (4-3) ran out the clock with a first down. Ryan’s 18-yard pass to Roddy White had put Atlanta ahead 17-6 at halftime.

The Lions, who struggled against Atlanta’s aggressive defense all day, had the ball at their 13 with 3:20 to go and three timeouts left with a chance to send the game into overtime.

Stafford converted a fourth down with a pass to Brandon Pettigrew, and a personal foul against Atlanta left the Lions 41 yards away from the end zone.

Afterwards, Nate Burleson dropped a pass, while linebacker Sean Weatherspoon broke up the next attempt.

Then replay showed Peters barely grazed the ball intended for tight end Tony Scheffler, meaning there wasn’t pass interference – and it was over.

Detroit never got another chance to come back after it couldn’t tackle rookie running back Jacquizz Rodgers on third-and-4 from midfield.

Gonzalez, Turner step up: Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez caught five passes for 62 yards, giving him 1,104 career receptions to trail only Jerry Rice in NFL history. Michael Turner ran 27 times — including a 50-yard gain — and finished with 122 yards rushing for the Falcons.

Special effort: Lions return specialist Stefan Logan fumbled on a kickoff to set up Ryan’s TD run.


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