NFL News & Analysis

NFL Preseason Week 1 Game Recap: Atlanta Falcons 27, Detroit Lions 23

Detroit, Michigan, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder (4) looks for an open receiver against the Detroit Lions in the second quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons beat the Detroit Lions, 27-23, in a game featuring a wild conclusion that saw them cling on through a desperation heave to the end zone.

Editor’s note: All grades in this article are subject to review. All PFF player grades will be finalized by 12 pm ET tomorrow.


ATLANTA FALCONS

Graphic via PFF's Nathan Jahnke

Quarterbacks

  • Marcus Mariota led a touchdown drive before giving way to the backups. He went 2-of-2 for 36 yards, with one of the completions an excellent pass to first-round rookie Drake London.
  • Desmond Ridder went 10-of-22 for 103 yards and two touchdown passes, but he had at least four good passes dropped and an ugly interception negated by an iffy roughing the passer penalty.
  • Mariota and Ridder added 77 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground.

Running Backs

Receivers

  • Drake London had an impressive catch and run from Marcus Mariota with the starters but took a shot to the knee on the play and was held out of the rest of the game as a precaution.
  • No receiver saw more than three targets all game, with Tyshaun James and Frank Darby hitting that mark.

Offensive Line

  • Jalen Mayfield picked up where he left off last season — struggling — giving up four pressures on 19 pass-blocking snaps.
  • The backup units for the Falcons had some major struggles and are set to earn ugly PFF pass-blocking grades.

Defensive Line

  • Arnold Ebiketie tallied two pressures and was able to affect the quarterback from his 12 pass-rushing snaps.
  • Quinton Bell was the only other Falcons defensive lineman to notch multiple pressures (two).

Linebackers

  • Nate Landman played 47 snaps, 12 more than any other Falcons linebacker. He had two defensive stops and a hurry on the blitz.
  • Rashaan Evans tied for the linebacker lead with two defensive stops from only six snaps against the run.

Secondary

  • The starters didn’t last long on defense, with only Casey Hayward Jr. seeing a target among the cornerbacks.
  • Falcons defensive backs missed three tackles as a group.

DETROIT LIONS

Graphic via PFF's Nathan Jahnke

Quarterbacks

  • Jared Goff led one touchdown drive before taking a seat on the bench. He went 3-of-4 for 47 yards.
  • Tim Boyle was next up but struggled with some errors. He had an interception and adjusted completion rate of just 56.3%.

Running Backs

  • D’Andre Swift handled four carries on the opening drive and scored the team’s opening points with a rushing touchdown. He had eight of his 20 yards after contact.
  • Jermar Jefferson had the highest workload, carrying nine times for just 19 yards. He broke a game-high four tackles on those runs.

Receivers

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown and D.J. Chark each played all 10 snaps of the opening drive with the starters. St. Brown saw two targets, moving the chains with both catches.
  • Devin Funchess made a long-awaited return. Ostensibly a tight end, Funchess scored his touchdown split wide in the red zone.

Offensive Line

  • The starting offensive line only had to pass-block for four snaps, but they were four clean snaps. The unit looked powerful in the run game, as well.
  • Detroit’s line generally held up very well, with only Matt Nelson struggling a little in pass protection.

Defensive Line

  • Aidan Hutchinson saw his first NFL action, making a nice splash play to stuff a run in the backfield. He played 10 total snaps and drew a holding penalty, as well.

Linebackers

  • Jarrad Davis played 25 snaps to lead the Lions' linebackers. He didn’t allow a completion into his coverage and forced an incompletion.
  • No Lions linebacker had more than one defensive stop.

Secondary

  • Jeffrey Okudah played 17 snaps as he looks to make an impact this season after injury derailed his 2021 campaign. He allowed one catch for 12 yards on the one pass thrown his way.
  • Kerby Joseph faced the most targets into his coverage (4). Only one was caught, but it was for a touchdown.
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