Oct 26, 2014 at 1.30pm UK at ​Georgia Dome
Detroit Lions
Atlanta Falcons
Freeman (9:25), Pascoe (2:53)
Jackson (3:45)
Tate (4:38)
Riddick (3:56)

Live Commentary: Detroit Lions 22-21 Atlanta Falcons - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live text coverage of the thrilling NFL clash at Wembley as the Detroit Lions launched an amazing comeback to beat the Atlanta Falcons.

The Detroit Lions scored 22 unanswered points in the second half to complete a huge comeback over the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL International Series this afternoon.

Matt Ryan threw two touchdown passes and Steven Jackson rushed for a score in the first half to leave the Falcons 21-0 up at the break.

However, Matthew Stafford led the NFC North side back into the game after the break, finding Golden Tate and Theo Riddick for touchdowns before Matt Prater kicked a game-winning field goal as time expired, sealing a 22-21 victory.

Read how all the action unfolded below:

1.02pmGood afternoon! It's an early start for the NFL today, with the International Series game at Wembley between the Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions kicking off in around half an hour. Let's start with a look at the inactive lists from both sides.

1.03pmFALCONS INACTIVES: Babineaux, Renfree, Martino, Arenas, Starr, Scott, Bradfield

1.04pmLIONS INACTIVES: Johnson, Bush, Ebron, Fauria, Pettigrew, Waddle, Moore

1.07pmNo real surprises on the inactive list for the Falcons, although the good news for Atlanta is that Harry Douglas has overcome an injury to ensure that he plays today. However, Detroit are without record-breaking wide receiver Calvin Johnson, starting running back Reggie Bush and their top three tight ends, which could leave them a bit short on offense today.

1.10pmThe two teams come into this game in contrasting form. The Lions have won their last two fixtures, which included their late comeback against the New Orleans Saints last week, which leaves them at the top of the NFC North. However, the Falcons have lost their last four games, leaving them with just two wins so far this season. They're not out of the running though, as they're just one win behind the Carolina Panthers, who lead the NFC South.


1.15pmNeither of these sides have played at Wembley before, but Falcons running back Steven Jackson will be familiar with the stadium. He was part of the St Louis Rams side that last 45-7 to the New England Patriots two years ago. He'll surely be keen to avoid a repeat of that scoreline this time.

1.18pmThis is the earliest that an NFL game has ever kicked off. The Wembley games to date have started at 5pm or 6pm UK time depending on time difference to fall in line with the 1pm ET kickoffs across the Atlantic. However, the early start allows the game to be shown nationwide in America.


1.24pmAs we mentioned in the introduction, this is the second of three games taking place at Wembley this year. In two weeks time, one of the strongest-looking teams of 2014, the Dallas Cowboys, will take on the Jacksonville Jaguars.

1.27pmPREDICTION! As the players make their way out of the tunnel ready for the start of the game, it's time for a quick prediction. Last week, I would have given this to the Lions, who have been defensively tough all season. However, the number of players missing on offense will surely hinder them today. I'm going for the Falcons to win by less than 10 points.

1.30pmAhead of kickoff, the fans at the stadium have been watching former X Factor winners Little Mix perform, alongside the Falcons cheerleaders:

1.33pmThe national anthems of the USA and Britain are performed before kickoff, which should be just a few minutes away now. As has been the case for the last few years, it's a packed stadium, with fans wearing the jerseys of all 32 teams.

1.36pmThe pre-game coin toss was won by Detroit, who have decided to defer to the second half, so the Falcons will receive the opening kickoff.


Q1 15:00KICKOFF! Lions kicker Matt Prater boots the ball downfield to get the game underway.

Q1 14:16Matt Ryan's first pass of the game is an incompletion as Patrick DiMarco lets a short throw out wide slip through his hands. Steven Jackson gets a carry to move the ball seven yards on second down, but a false start by rookie tackle Jake Matthews immediately moves Atlanta back five yards.

Q1 13:59Ryan spots Roddy White in space and completes a deep 24-yard pass to the veteran wide receiver, while a Nick Fairley penalty on the next play leaves the designated home team just short of midfield. It's not been an explosive first drive, but it's been a promising start by the Falcons.

Q1 11:15Another couple of short runs from Steven Jackson gives the Falcons another first down, before a 12-yard catch from White immediately moves the chains again. Ryan finds Julio Jones for the first time today on the next play for 11, moving the Falcons to within 30 yards of the end zone. The Lions will be keen to try and get the stop as this looks like a very dangerous drive now.

Q1 9:31TOUCHDOWN! Detroit Lions 0-7 Atlanta Falcons (Devonta Freeman)

Q1 9:31Rookie Devonta Freeman opens the scoring with his first ever NFL touchdown. Matt Ryan completes a short pass out wide to the running back, who then powers through a gap and into the corner of the end zone. That was a very solid opening drive from the Falcons against a team who have given away very few points in the opening quarter in recent weeks.

Q1 7:51With Calvin Johnson having been out injured for the last few weeks, Golden Tate has become Matthew Stafford's top target. The wide receiver gets the ball twice for a first down, but some dual coverage stops the Lions quarterback finding him for a third time in a row.

Q1 6:39Stafford tries to connect with Corey Fuller on third down with a deep throw, but the wide receiver can't haul it in, leaving the Lions empty handed from their first drive of the day.

Q1 6:19Devin Hester returns the punt to midfield to leave the Falcons starting their drive in a strong position. The return specialist has had a big impact for the team since joining them this off-season, breaking the record for most kicks returns for a touchdown by a single player earlier in the season.

Q1 4:24Steven Jackson picks up a few yards before Julio Jones secures the first down. Ryan looks for Jones again with a deep throw to the back of the end zone, but a second penalty of the game on Matthews sees the play brought back, although Jones hadn't managed to hold on.

Q1 3:04Roddy White gets the better of Darrius Slay while running toward the end zone, but the cornerback gives White a shove, earning himself a pass interference penalty, and giving the Falcons a first down at the one-yard line.

Q1 2:58TOUCHDOWN! Detroit Lions 0-14 Atlanta Falcons (Bear Pascoe)

Q1 2:58Veteran tight end Bear Pascoe shows amazing footwork skills to get the second touchdown of the game for the Falcons. Matt Ryan throws a high ball over the middle, which Pascoe reaches high at the back of the end zone and just manages to keep his feet in bounds for his first touchdown with the team.

Q1 2:53The Lions almost lose the ball on the first play as Joique Bell misreads the play, not realising that Stafford was trying to hand the ball of to him. The ball initially comes loose, but the running back manages to dive on top of it to make sure that the Lions retain possession.

Q1 0:18Corey Fuller take a 14-yards catch to bring up first down, but Stafford comes under pressure a couple of plays later and has to scramble to avoid the sack, and he manages to pick up 10 yards while doing so.

Q1 0:00END OF FIRST QUARTER: Detroit Lions 0-14 Atlanta Falcons

2.13pmSo two touchdowns leave the Falcons in a strong position at the end of the first quarter, but the Lions will resume on 2nd & 2 just short of midfield. They really need some points from this drive if they're to make a game of this.

Q2 14:16Bell and Ross pick up some yards on the run to move the Lions over midfield. This is the strongest that the Lions have looked so far today.

Q2 12:54Golden Tate tries to haul in a long catch down the sideline at the 15-yard line, but Lowery pushes him out of bounds before he gets his feet down. Worryingly for the Lions, it appears that Tate has picked up an injury while trying to take the catch. Without Johnson and Tate, that would leave Stafford really short of players to pass to.

Q2 12:49Tate makes it back onto the field, but he can't convert a third down. With 37 yards to the end zone, the Lions elect not to risk a long field goal, and instead punt the ball away. That'll come as a blow as that looked like a promising drive. It does look like Stafford is relying too heavily on Tate though, and if he's covered the team are struggling to pick up yards.

Q2 11:26Ryan looks for Julio Jones as the Falcons looks to continue their bright start to this game. However, play is halted as Lions defensive end Nick Fairley picks up an injury while covering the wide receiver.

Q2 11:19For the first time today, the Falcons are forced to punt as the home side are unable to move to chains. Bosher kicks the ball back to the Lions, and Ross calls for a fair catch at the Detroit 38.

Q2 11:19INJURY UPDATE! Fairley went in for a sack on Matt Ryan the same time as Ndamukong Suh, forcing his knee back at an awkward looking angle. He manages to limp to the sideline, but there's concerned expressions on the faces of his teammates.

Q2 10:16Bell tries to run the ball, but is held up for a loss of a yard before Stafford throws incompletion to Davis and Tate, completing a swift three and out for Lions. Their punter is being made to work today!

Q1 9:16The Lions have now confirmed that Fairley will not be able to return to the game. He's been a big part of their formidable defense this season, so will be a big loss.

Q2 8:11Ryan makes another strong start to a drive, finding Toilolo for 11 yards. Harry Douglas hauls in a short pass before being pushed out of bounds for a gain of 13 before Julio Jones runs a similar route for 16. The Falcons offense really does look formidable this afternoon, if the Lions get one player covered, Ryan just finds another!

Q2 6:17Roddy White gets some more yards down the sidelines, but Ihedigbo is flagged for an unnecessary roughness foul for grabbing the facemask of the wide receiver.

Q2 5:49The Lions finally appear to have something to cheer about as Mathis intercepts a Ryan pass in the end zone, and returns it all the way for a touchdown. However, the referee calls pass interference against the safety, ruling the score out. It was an impressive run from the 34-year-old, but looking at the replays he can have no complaints. The Falcons have the ball back at the Detroit 17.

Q2 3:51Steven Jackson attempts to stretch for the end zone, but he comes up just shot as Tapp brings him down at the one-yard line.

Q2 3:45TOUCHDOWN! Detroit Lions 0-21 Atlanta Falcons (Steven Jackson)

Q2 3:45That is going to be a bitter pill to swallow for the Lions. Moments after thinking that they got a score back after intercepting a Matt Ryan pass, the Lions watch Steven Jackson run into the end zone from a yard out. Despite the fact that Jackson carried the ball on the last two plays, Detroit still seemed to be surprised by the running back, who was barely touched as he smashed through the defensive line.

Q2 2:00Riddick gets his hands on the ball to give the Lions a first down, but a couple of sloppy throws from Stafford leaves the Lions needing 10 yards on third down. They make it through, with Jeremy Ross superbly hurdling over a safety to move Detroit to their own 40-yard line. The Lions have proved themselves to be a strong side in the second half this season, so they'll be keen to get some points on the board before the break to give themselves a chance of a comeback. They've got a lot of work to do though.

Q2 2:00INJURY UPDATE! There's an injury concern for the Falcons now as offensive lineman Gabe Carimi has an ankle injury. The team have described his return to the game as questionable.

Q2 1:14INTERCEPTION! Stafford has been throwing some pretty poor passes during this drive, and the Falcons punish him as Robert Alford picks the ball off to bring the Atlanta offense back into the field.

Q2 0:29Matt Ryan scrambles for a few yards, but it doesn't look like the Falcons will have time to add to their lead before the end of the half.

Q2 0:00END OF SECOND QUARTER: Detroit Lions 0-21 Atlanta Falcons

3.01pmWell that's 30 minutes of game time that the Detroit Lions will be pretty keen to forget. With so many players out injured, scoring points was always going to be difficult for the Lions, but their defense had been expected to keep the game close. However, Matt Ryan and the Atlanta offense have been superb so far this afternoon, setting the NFC South side up for what looks likes being a huge victory.

3.04pmLet's take a looks at some of the stats from the first two quarters. Ryan had a near-perfect half, completing 14 of his 17 attempts for 160 yards and two touchdowns. By contrast, Matthew Stafford has really struggled, with just nine completion from 20 attempts for 85 yards and no touchdowns as well as an interception.

3.06pmAs well as Ryan's two touchdown passes, there was a score for Steven Jackson, as he ran in from a yard out. The touchdown takes the running back over 11,000 rushing yards in his career.

3.09pmIt really is difficult to see the Lions getting back into this game. Stafford has looked uncomfortable passing to anyone other than Golden Tate, who has been closely covered as a result, forcing the quarterback to look for other players, making some mistakes along the way.

Q3 15:00KICKOFF! The teams are back out ready for the start of the third quarter, with the Falcons kicking the ball to the Lions.

Q3 13:34Stafford fails to find Tate a couple of times, but some short rushes from Joique Bell get the first down, before Fuller gets the ball to midfield with a 16-yard catch. Fuller has started to see more game time in the last couple of weeks, and could prove a threat if Stafford can keep finding him.

Q3 11:36The Lions are looking much more confident at the start of this third quarter. Having struggled to find Tate in the first half, Stafford gives himself some time in the pocket before launching the ball down the middle for the wide receiver for a 28-yard pickup.

Q3 9:31Detroit are getting themselves into a really strong position as Riddick gains six before Broyles takes a short catch for four, leaving the Lions just nine short of the end zone.

Q3 8:02Bell attempts the rush for the touchdown, but he's held up four yards short by Lowery. Stafford tries to pass it twice, but he's unable to find his receiver, bringing on the field goal unit.

Q3 7:54FIELD GOAL! Detroit Lions 3-21 Atlanta Falcons (Matt Prater)

Q3 7:54Matt Prater is called into action for the first time today, and he easily makes the 22-yard effort to finally get some points on the board for the NFC North leaders.

Q3 7:49FUMBLE! Jones sacks Matt Ryan for a loss of seven yards, but the hit surprises the quarterback and he loses the ball, but Schraeder reacts quickly to recover it for Atlanta.

Q3 6:30Despite keeping possession of the football, the Falcons are unable to make anything of their drive, as Jackson picks up a yard before Ryan fails for connect with Douglas. Bosher comes on to punt it back to the Lions, but his kick is short, so the Lions offense will be starting from a decent field position at the Atlanta 44. Detroit have a long way to go to make this competitive, but they've made a good start.

Q3 5:45Stafford tries a deep pass the Fuller, who was closing in on the end zone, but the wide receiver can't hold on, landing awkwardly on his shoulder. He immediately makes his way to the sideline to seek treatment. If he's injured, he would be a big loss for the Lions, as his involvement in this third quarter has proved crucial for Detroit.

Q3 4:38TOUCHDOWN! Detroit Lions 10-21 Atlanta Falcons (Golden Tate)

Q3 4:38What a stunning throw from Matthews Stafford! The quarterback tosses the ball deep for Golden Tate, who is too fast the cornerback covering him, and he dashes untouched into the end zone for a 59-yard touchdown. The score also sees Stafford break the Lions' record for most touchdown passes by a quarterback, completing the 119th of his career.

Q3 2:46Suh thinks that he's sacked Ryan, but Mathis is penalised for an illegal contact in the run up to the play, so the play is wiped off. Ryan seems to be struggling a bit though, and he turns to Jackson to run the ball, but he struggles to pick up yardage.

Q3 0:14INTERCEPTION! Ryan tries to force a pass to Julio Jones despite the receiver not being open, and it's an easy interception for Cassius Vaughn to give the ball back to the Lions. Vaughn sprints back towards the end zone, but he's brought down short of the end zone.

Q3 0:00END OF THIRD QUARTER: Detroit Lions 10-21 Atlanta Falcons

Q4 14:18The Lions resume just two yards short of the end zone, but Bell can't get in, while Tate is too well covered, so Prater will come on for another field goal attempt.

Q4 14:10FIELD GOAL! Detroit Lions 13-21 Atlanta Falcons (Matt Prater)

Q4 14:10Despite the Lions getting another three points on the board, Atlanta will be the happier of the two teams, as they stopped Detroit getting into the end zone after starting the drive just seven yards out. Prater, who holds the league record for the longest ever field goal, has no problem with the 20-yard chip shot.

Q4 13:30Ryan will be hoping for a better drive this time around after throwing an interception last time he was on the field. The Falcons quarterback starts well, throwing a long pass down the centre for White for an 18-yard gain.

Q4 11:33SACK & FUMBLE! Ryan is brought down by Ezekiel Ansah for a loss of eight yards, but for the second time today he fumbles the ball. Jake Matthews quickly pounces on it for the Falcons, but it's fourth down so Atlanta have to punt. Ryan looked unshakable in the first half, but he's looked nervous and indecisive since the start of the third quarter.

Q4 9:12Golden Tate has certainly had more of an impact in the second half, having been well covered and on the receiving end of a couple of heavy hits in the first half. The wide receiver is pushed out of bounds at the Detroit 45 for a first down, before Joique Bell picks up nine, leaving the Lions back in Atlanta territory. If they can get another touchdown now, a two-point conversion would tie up the game.

Q4 8:19Detroit need six on a third down to keep the drive going, but the Falcons can't get the stop, with Stafford finding Fuller for a 13-yard pick up.

Q4 5:34Joique Bell has been working hard to make amends for the first-quarter fumble, and he weaves superbly to avoid a couple of tackles and carry the ball down to the five-yard line.

Q4 4:01TOUCHDOWN! Detroit Lions 19-21 Atlanta Falcons (Theo Riddick)

Q4 4:01Matthew Stafford fakes a handoff to Joique Bell before passing in the opposite direction for Theo Riddick, who runs after the catch for a couple of yards to find the corner of the end zone. The Lions elect to go for a two-point conversion rather than kicking the extra point, which would have tied the game, but the pass was too short for Golden Tate to add the extra two points.

Q4 4:01

Q4 3:12The Falcons know that if they let the Detroit offense back onto the field that a field goal would be enough for Detroit to take the win, so clock management will be key now. With that in mind, Ryan hands the ball off to Jackson twice rather than risking a pass, but the running back only manages to gain five yards.

Q4 2:09After a timeout, Ryan gets the ball to Harry Douglas for a 13-yard gain, moving Atlanta to their own 38-yard line, while Julio Jones picks up a short catch before shaking off a tackle to spring for 22 yards.

Q4 2:00With two minutes left to play, the Falcons have two timeouts remaining and a fresh set of downs, so the Lions need to make a big defensive play to get the ball back now. It's not impossible though, as Ryan has fumbled a couple of times already today.

Q4 1:46A silly holding penalty sees the Falcons lose a down as Stupar loses his discipline while Whitehead runs the ball. Matt Ryan looks for Julio Jones to get a first down, but the receiver is a step too quick and misses the catch. The Falcons will punt, leaving the Lions just over 90 seconds to try and win the game!

Q4 1:07It's a good start for the Lions as Stafford completes a deep pass to Golden Tate for a 32-yard gain. They still need a bit more to get into Prater's kicking range though.

Q4 0:49Riddick hauls in a stunning catch by his fingertips to get the the Atlanta 41. Technically, that's within Prater's range, but his record came during his time with the Broncos at altitude. It'll be much harder to kick 60+ yards at Wembley.

Q4 0:25Stafford finds Jeremy Ross for five yards before Bell runs the ball for no gain. Prater is going through a thorough warmup on the sidelines as he prepares for what looks like being a last-gasp field goal attempt. Stafford will try to move the ball a little closer to the posts first.

Q4 0:05Paul Soliai is called for defensive holding to move the Lions even closer. Stafford then takes a knee to bring out the kicker for a 43-yard effort.

Q4 0:04The Lions get the snap away late, so lose five yards for a delay of game penalty. It's just as well for them, as Prater's effort goes well wide of the right upright. He'll get a second chance, but it's now a 48-yard effort.

Q4 0:04FIELD GOAL! Detroit Lions 22-21 Atlanta Falcons (Matt Prater)

Q4 0:00END OF FOURTH QUARTER! Detroit Lions 22-21 Atlanta Falcons

4.39pmWhat a comeback! No-one could have seen that coming at half time, with the Lions struggling to get their offense going, while the Falcons looked untouchable, but it completely turned around after the break.

4.40pmMatt Prater is the Detroit Lions third kicker of the season, with two having already been cut for struggling earlier in the season, but the NFL record holder showed nerves of steel to kick the game-winning points on a slippery field.

4.41pmThe result keeps the Lions at the top of the NFC North with a 6-2 record, while the Falcons slip to 2-6. Both teams now head into their bye week.

4.42pmWell that's all from this game, but stick around as we'll have live scores, half-time reports and results from all of this evening's games which get underway shortly. Until next time, thanks for joining me this afternoon, goodbye.

Josh Hill #89 of the New Orleans Saints looks to gain yards against the Detroit Lions in the second quarter at Ford Field on October 19, 2014
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