The Falcons‘ offense couldn’t do much right against the Lions’ defense, which was missing multiple starters.
Atlanta totaled just 183 yards against Detroit’s 358 total yards. The most surprising part of the Falcons’ lack of production came in the run game, which only mustered 44 yards on 20 rushes.
The Falcons never established the run and never leaned on it, despite it being their bread and butter. The Lions were surprised, specifically Aidan Hutchinson about Atlanta’s lack of conviction in running the football.
“I’m surprised they got away from [running] it more,” Hutchinson said. “I thought they were going to – especially in the second half, get back to – that’s their foundation is that bounce run game. I thought they were going to get back to it, but they didn’t. I thought we did a good job stopping the runs that we got. But it was not the game I expected it to be.”
On the first drive from scrimmage, the Falcons went three-and-out on three straight pass attempts. On the second drive, the Falcons did get a first down on an unbelievable play from Drake London, but two straight sacks following a first down scramble led to another punt.
On the third drive, which spanned the end of the first quarter into the second, Ridder led a 45-yard drive over 10 plays that eventually ran out of steam due to multiple incompletions and led to a Younghoe Koo field goal.
The Falcons tried to run the ball four times but only gained 10 total yards. Following a touchdown drive from the Lions, the Falcons went three-and-out on the two next drives before the half, which included only two rushing attempts.
In the first half, the Falcons mustered only 27 rushing yards on nine carries. A lot of the attempts were on second down after a negative first down play.
To Aidan Hutchinson’s point, the offense went away from the run game in the second half, never establishing it, despite Arthur Smith never going away from it last year or last week against the Packers, even when they were down 12 points in the fourth quarter.
The Falcons ran the ball 11 times in the second half for just 17 yards. Credit to the Lions and their performance, though. Detroit came out and punched Atlanta in the mouth, and Arthur Smith’s club didn’t have a counter.