The Falcons once again managed to lose a game they absolutely should have won today, this time against the Detroit Lions.
Down 16-14 with about a minute remaining, Atlanta faced first and goal. The Lions, without timeouts, took a page out of the Indiana Hoosiers playbook and decided to let the Falcons score, if they wanted to; after all, even for the Falcons, a field goal from inside the ten-yard-line is as close to automatic as there is.
Instead of kneeling from the original spot, though, the Falcons handed the ball to Todd Gurley, and the Lions (mostly) parted the seas. A few defenders made cursory efforts to bring Gurley down, but that may have been more to bait Gurley into continuing to the end zone, which he didn’t quite do, as he attempted to fall short.
The go-ahead TD for TG!
📺: FOX pic.twitter.com/hSAIQJ7eNI
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) October 25, 2020
Unfortunately, the ball broke the plane of the goal line:
"don't score, don't score, don't score NOOOOOOOO" – Todd Gurley, probably pic.twitter.com/ycOjz5Ghol
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) October 25, 2020
That score gave the Lions the ball back with a chance to take the lead, and at that point, given that it’s the Falcons, it felt like a foregone conclusion. And, indeed, that’s what happened:
Matthew Stafford finds TJ Hockenson for the Lions TD with no time remaining. They would win on the XP (which didn't come without drama).
And another brutal loss for the Falcons. pic.twitter.com/KQxnruVtl3
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) October 25, 2020
Ironically, a penalty pushed the PAT back, meaning the Falcons still had a shot; Matt Prater, though, converted it anyway for the victory. Just a brutal way to lose for the Falcons, whose brand continues on even after the dismissal of Dan Quinn and Thomas Dmitroff.
The Falcons win probability in the 4th quarter:
99.9% vs Cowboys
99.6% vs Bears
95.9% vs Lions
They lost all 3 games. pic.twitter.com/vsrawGThSO
— StatMuse (@statmuse) October 25, 2020
Sorry, Atlanta fans. Truly.