The Detroit Lions let the Falcons score a touchdown. Atlanta obliged, then found another stunning way to lose.
Matthew Stafford connected with T.J. Hockenson on an 11-yard touchdown pass as time expired and Matt Prater booted a 48-yard extra point to give Detroit an improbable 23-22 victory on Sunday in Georgia. The Lions (3-3) won their second in a row — their first winning streak since early in the 2019 season.
This was about as strange as it gets.
Trailing, 16-14, the Falcons (1-6) were positioned to run down the clock and kick a chip-shot field goal for the win when they picked up a first down at the Lions 10 with just over a minute remaining. Detroit had used up all its timeouts on the drive, and with no further way to stop the clock, made no attempt to stop Todd Gurley after he took a handoff from Matt Ryan.
“I thought it was perfect,” Detroit coach Matt Patricia said. “Give the players credit. They executed it great. It was a great job by them.”
Gurley burst through an intentionally gaping hole, not realizing what the Lions were doing until it was too late. He started to fall, but landed on the goal line with 1:04 remaining.
“I was mad as hell,” he said. “I was trying not to [score], but my momentum took me in. It’s kind of crazy.”
The Falcons converted a 2-point conversion to make it 22-16, but the Lions still had a chance against a team that had already become the first in NFL history to lose two straight games when leading by at least 15 points in the fourth quarter.
Stafford drove his team 75 yards in eight plays, connecting with Hockenson on a 13-yard pass, Danny Amendola for 22 yards, and Kenny Golladay for a 29-yard gain to the Falcons 11. After a replay review and a spike with 2 seconds to go, Stafford was pressured in the pocket, rolled to his left, and hit Hockenson breaking free across the end zone.
Detroit was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct during the celebration, but Prater knocked through the try to win the game.
Stafford finished 25 of 36 for 340 yards. Golladay had six catches for 114 yards. Ryan was 31 of 42 for 338 yards and a touchdown, while Gurley ran for a pair of touchdowns.
Cardinals 37, Seahawks 34 (ot) — Zane Gonzalez, who’d missed a 41-yard field goal earlier in overtime, hit from 48 yards with 15 seconds to go in the extra session, Arizona (5-2) capitalizing on Russell Wilson’s third interception to beat visiting Seattle (5-1), which was the NFC’s last unbeaten team. Gonzalez had sent the game to overtime with a last-second 44-yarder in regulation, the Cardinals erasing a 10-point deficit in the final 6:44. Kyler Murray (34 of 48, 360 yards, three touchdowns and an interception) steered a 14-play drive for an Arizona touchdown, then 54 yards in eight plays to set up Gonzalez in just 52 seconds after a defensive stop. Wilson threw for 388 yards and three more touchdowns — all to Tyler Lockett, who reeled in 15 balls for 200 yards. DeAndre Hopkins, who was battling an ankle injury all week, had 103 yards and a touchdown for the Cardinals.
Chiefs 43, Broncos 16 — Patrick Mahomes had only 200 yards passing and didn’t throw a touchdown pass until the fourth quarter, but Kansas City (6-1) dominated anyway on a 14-degree day in snowy Denver (2-4), scoring on Byron Pringle’s 102-yard kickoff return, Daniel Sorensen’s 50-yard interception return, and a Clyde Edwards-Helaire 11-yard run in which he broke five tackles. The Chiefs had four takeaways, with Le’Veon Bell rushing six times for 39 yards in his Kansas City debut. Melvin Gordon, back in the lineup after missing last week’s win in Foxborough with strep throat a few days after his arrest for driving under the influence, lost a fumble in the first half and turned the ball over on a failed flea flicker on Denver’s first drive of the second. Both he and quarterback Drew Lock did rush for touchdowns in the loss.
Bills 18, Jets 10 — Josh Allen and Buffalo (5-2) were held out of the end zone for the first time this season, but Tyler Bass hit six of eight field-goal attempts to snap a two-game skid and keep host New York (0-7) the NFL’s last winless team. The Bills fell behind 10-0 early and looked sluggish in their third game in 13 days, as Jets coach Adam Gase handed off playcalling duties on offense to coordinator Dowell Loggains and was rewarded with New York’s largest lead of the season. Bass, however, hit from 53 and 48 yards in the final three minutes of the second quarter, from 46 and 37 in the third quarter, and from 29 and 40 in the fourth, the last with 1:56 left. New York had one last chance, but Sam Darnold, who threw for just 120 yards in his first start since missing two games with a sprained shoulder joint, was intercepted by Jerry Hughes on a tipped pass to seal it.
Packers 35, Texans 20 — Aaron Rodgers was near flawless and tied his season high with four touchdown passes, as Green Bay (5-1) had no trouble in Houston (1-6), rebounding from its blowout loss to the Buccaneers. Playing without leading rusher Aaron Jones and left tackle David Bakhtiari, the Packers got a career-high 196 yards receiving from Davante Adams, who had touchdown receptions of 3 and 45 yards in his second 150-yard, 2-TD game this season. Deshaun Watson threw for 309 yards with two touchdowns and former Green Bay receiver Randall Cobb had 95 yards receiving, but Houston trailed, 21-0, at the half, held to just five first downs in that span. Not that the crowd minded: Limited to 13,000, it was so overrun by Packers fans that players on Green Bay’s defense raised their arms to hype up the crowd when the Texans started a drive at their 2 in the second quarter.
Saints 27, Panthers 24 — Drew Brees passed for 287 yards and two touchdowns without top receivers Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, plus rushed for a score, and host New Orleans (4-2) hung on to beat Carolina (3-4). The Panthers had driven across midfield in the final minutes when Marcus Davenport’s sack of Teddy Bridgewater led coach Matt Rhule to send out kicker Joey Slye for a 65-yard field goal on fourth-and-19. The kick fell just short of the crossbar, and Carolina never got the ball back in losing its second straight. Brees and the Saints converted 12 of 14 third downs, hitting field goals on the two failures. Alvin Kamara gained 148 yards from scrimmage, with 83 coming on 14 rushes. Bridgewater, in his first game against the Saints since serving as Brees’s backup the past two seasons, was 23 of 28 for 254 yards and two touchdowns, including a 74-yarder to DJ Moore. But Carolina managed just 37 yards rushing against one of the NFL’s top run defenses.
Chargers 39, Jaguars 29 — In Inglewood, Calif., Justin Herbert got his first NFL win, throwing for 347 yards and three touchdowns as well as running for a score as Los Angeles (2-4) snapped a four-game losing streak despite blowing a 16-point lead and became the sixth straight team to score at least 30 on Jacksonville (1-6). Herbert, the sixth overall pick in April’s draft, completed 27 of 43 passes. He also rushed for 66 yards, a single-game high for a Chargers QB. Jacksonville did not get its initial first down until nearly 20 minutes in, but scored 21 straight points to go up by five and was ahead, 29-22, late in the third when Los Angeles regained control. Herbert connected with Jalen Guyton for a 70-yard touchdown up the right sideline to tie it. Four plays after Tevaughn Campbell forced Dede Westbrook’s fumble on the ensuing kickoff — Troymaine Pope recovered at the Jaguars 19 — Herbert scrambled around right end from 5 yards. Tight ends Donald Parham and Virgil Green also caught touchdowns, while Keenan Allen had 10 receptions for 125 yards.
Washington 25, Cowboys 3 — In Landover, Md., the defense dominated for Washington (2-5), piling up six sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble that became a safety in blowing out Dallas (2-5), each a half-game behind Philadelphia for the top spot in the dreadful NFC East. Montez Sweat led Washington with two sacks and Landon Collins knocked the ball out of Andy Dalton’s hands for an early safety before leaving with an ankle injury. Dalton was under siege all day behind a patchwork offensive line and was 9 of 19 for 75 yards when he was knocked out of the game in the third quarter on a shoulder-to-head hit from Jon Bostic, who was ejected. Washington allowed 142 total yards and put up 397, including rookie Antonio Gibson’s first 100-yard rushing game (128) and a touchdown, to win by double digits for the first time since November 2018.