Opening day of the 2008 NFL regular season on Fox. The Detroit Lions went southwards to size up the Atlanta Falcons. The Lions tried (not well at all in the first quarter) and put up a decent retort (in the second and third quarters), but in the end. Falcons soared above.
Sweet holy tuna sandwich! Just two minutes into the first quarter and Matt Ryan, Falcons starting quarterback, threw a sixty-two yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Michael Jenkins. On the Falcons’ second possession (about halfway through the first quarter), running back Michael Turner made a sixty-six yard dash into the end zone; he then put another TD on the board towards the end of the first quarter. Falcons 21. Lions nope.
Jon Kitna quarterbacked for Detroit. After three (?) attempts to make it into the end zone, Lions running back Kevin Smith finally made it through near the bottom of the quarter. Falcons 21. Lions 7. And then, like a giddy spatula on icing, wide receiver Roy Williams caught a TD pass (in a far corner of the end zone) with fewer than twenty-five seconds left on the clock. Going into halftime, Atlanta 21 and Lions 14.
Third quarter. Falcons safety Lawyer Milloy intercepted a Kitna pass in the top of the quarter. It was an awesome blossom. That drive ended in a field goal. Atlanta 24. Detroit 14. A bit after the halfway point of the third quarter, wide receiver Roddy White caught a forty-six yard pass from Matt Ryan, which got the Falcons down to end zone country. Running back Jerious Norwood made the TD. Atlanta 31. Detroit 14. In the bottom of the third, after Falcons cornerback Chris Houston gets a penalty (pass interference/illegal contact, je pense), the Lions put a TD on the board, thanks to tight end Casey FitzSimmons and a play action fake. Falcons 31 and Lions 21.
The fourth quarter began with what might have been a lovely third Michael Turner touchdown. Alas, it was subtracted–holding penalty on Roddy White–and that drive yielded a field goal instead. Falcons 34 and Lions 21. Final score.
Observations & Miscellania:
1. It was still, and I suspect always will be, a pleasure to watch Calvin Johnson reach into the air for the ball–even when he doesn’t hold on to the ball.
2. JC Pearson and Matt Vasgersian provided commentary for Fox.
3. Bottom of the second quarter and Jon Kitna became quite expressive on the sidelines with his frustration. Understandably expressive.
4. I do believe UGA’s Redcoat marching band performed during halftime.
5. According to the commentators, Lawyer Milloy did a stint in the MLB before venturing into football. They also said he is a “soccer dad in the off-season.”
6. Visually, the first thing that came to mind when Jerious Norwood went into the end zone in the third quarter was “prance.” A stag leap, which happens to be a gymnastic maneuver.
7. After returning from the commercial break at around ten minutes, one of the cameras revealed 11Alive’s Fred Kalil at the game sitting next to Gerald Riggs, a former NFL player. Michael Turner broke Riggs’s rushing record.
8. Matt Ryan is the eighth rookie quarterback to dominate and win on opening day.
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