Detroit turned Vick’s two first-half turnovers into touchdowns and Roy Williams had a sensational game, highlighted by a 60-yard TD early in the fourth quarter, in the Lions’ 30-14 victory Sunday over the Atlanta Falcons.
“I guess we had a little kryptonite for him,” Detroit cornerback Fernando Bryant said. “The whole key is to stay disciplined, keeping lanes and contain, and that’s what we did with him.”
The Lions pulled off the feat without three starters on the defensive line, including Shaun Rogers.
Atlanta’s electric quarterback threw for seven TDs and averaged 262 yards passing in the previous two games, both victories, but quickly found out it would not be his day in Detroit.
He fumbled on the Falcons’ first drive, an unforced error as he held the ball like a loaf of bread, and threw an interception from deep in his end in the second quarter. Both led to Kevin Jones’ TD runs.
“It was a major setback for us,” Vick said. “I would have never thought coming into this game that we would have performed the way we did.”
Vick completed 17 of 32 passes for 163 yards—numbers that would’ve been better had teammates not dropped several balls—with a TD and two interceptions, and he ran for 80 yards. He made a picture-perfect 19-yard pass to Alge Crumpler between two defenders in the end zone.
That play late in the first quarter was just about Vick’s only highlight for Atlanta (5-3), not counting his one-of-a-kind scrambles that made short gains and losses look spectacular.
The game closed with Vick throwing a meaningless interception in the end zone, a fitting end to his frustrating day.
Detroit had a balanced attack, led by 2004 first-round picks Williams and Jones. Its defense did not allow Atlanta to score after Warrick Dunn pulled the Falcons within three late in the first half.
Williams had six receptions for 138 yards, making him the NFL’s only player this season with four 130-yard receiving games, and a score that made it 27-14 with 13:09 left to play. Jones had 110 yards rushing and two TDs.
“If Kevin Jones rushes for 100 yards and a receiver gets 100 yards, there’s no one in the country that can beat us,” Williams said.
Jon Kitna was 20-of-32 for 321 yards with a TD and an interception for the bye-rested Lions (2-6) who had a chance to win in five of their losses.
“Even though they were 1-6, we knew all week that their record didn’t show how good they are,” said Dunn, who was held to 51 yards rushing. “And they showed that by dominating us.”
Vick’s interception and fumble in the first half helped the Lions take a 17-14 lead into the third quarter.
Detroit drove to the 1 on its first drive of the second half before settling for Jason Hanson’s second of three field goals and a six-point lead.
After limiting Atlanta to another three-and-out in the third quarter, the Lions had a chance to add to their cushion.
On a third-and-13, Kitna ran for 17 yards, slid and was hit by DeAngelo Hall and Michael Boley. That led to a brief scuffle and Hall’s personal-foul penalty that gave Detroit the ball at the 11. Holding and false start penalties backed up the Lions, then Kitna’s shovel pass was intercepted by Jonathan Babineaux.
The Falcons could only pick up one first down and were forced to punt again.
Detroit made the missed opportunity costly for Atlanta.
Williams caught a pass on the right side, then cut across the field for a 60-yard TD. It was the longest reception of Williams’ three-year career, and the longest pass play for the Lions this season.
“We didn’t play very well. They played well and deserved to win,” said Atlanta coach Jim Mora, who had a brief news conference before walking away from the podium.
After the opening kickoff, Atlanta’s Kevin Mathis was strapped to a backboard and carted off the field after his helmet hit Eddie Drummond during his return. Mathis injured his neck, but had feeling and movement in all of his extremities, and was held overnight at a hospital for observation. … Detroit DTs Shaun Rogers (suspension), Shaun Cody (toe) and DE James Hall (shoulder) all missed the game.