Kitna, Jones, Williams lead Lions over FalconsNov 5, 2006 - 9:52 PM DETROIT (Ticker) -- Michael Vick and the Atlanta Falcons spoiled the traditional Thanksgiving Day game for the Detroit Lions last November. But Jon Kitna was not around for that game.
Kitna threw for 321 yards and a touchdown and Kevin Jones rushed for 110 yards and two scores to lead the Lions to a 30-14 victory over the Falcons.
The loss dropped the Falcons (5-3) one game behind first-place New Orleans in the NFC South.
Last Thanksgiving, the Falcons rushed for 256 yards and Vick connected with tight end Alge Crumpler on a pair of touchdowns in a 27-7 victory here for the Falcons. That turned out to be the last game for former Lions coach Steve Mariucci.
Rod Marinelli was hired in the offseason, but the Lions (2-6) lost six of their first seven games before surprising Vick and the Falcons.
"The team effort was what we want," Marinelli said. "This wasn't about one person, this was about our team."
Vick had passed for seven touchdowns in Atlanta's last two games - wins over Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. But Vick threw for just one score this time - a 19-yarder to Crumpler - and committed three turnovers.
"It's tough to lose like that in every phase of the game - offensively, defensively and special teams," Vick said. "It was a major setback for us. I would have never thought coming into this game that we would have performed the way we did. But the ball didn't bounce our way today. Instead of taking steps forward we took steps back."
Atlanta coach Jim Mora Jr. kept his postgame comments brief - a little more than two minutes. He was not pleased with his team's inability to take care of the ball.
"It's very uncharacteristic of us on the road," Mora said. "We've gone three road games without a turnover and today we had two."
While Vick threw for 163 yards with two interceptions, Kitna nearly doubled Vick's passing yards and threw a 60-yard touchdown to Roy Williams.
The Lions signed Kitna as a free agent in the offseason after playing Jeff Garcia, Joey Harrington and Dan Orlovsky at the position last year.
"We played as a football team," said Kitna, who completed 20-of-32 passes. "We had field position pretty much all day and the defense gave us the ball down there in the red zone a couple of different times and we had to punch it in and that's our job."
Vick fumbled on the Falcons' first drive and was intercepted in the second quarter. Both led to touchdown runs by Jones.
However, Vick was a major factor in the running game, scrambling 10 times for 80 yards.
Meanwhile, Kitna stayed in the pocket most of the day and effectively used Williams, who caught six passes for 138 yards. Williams' 60-yard TD was the longest of his three-year career.
Williams and Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall engaged in some verbal jousting during the week, but Williams had the last word on Sunday.
"I just told him, 'Y'all got to change y'all's game plan. You can't sit out here and play man to man,'" Williams said. "They were doing a fairly good job but you can't play this team man to man. If you do, I'm going to hurt you or Mike Furrey's going to hurt you. If you play zone, Kevin Jones is going to hurt you. And even back in the man coverage, Kevin Jones, if he busts it like he did earlier in the game, he'll hurt you. So this is a tough offense to defend, real tough."
Jones recorded his second 100-yard game of the season and scored on runs of 35 and two yards.
"It feels good when you can't just key on one thing," Jones said. "They couldn't key on the run because Roy was killing them in the pass. And they couldn't really key on him because I was doing my thing in the run. So it just all works together."
Jason Hanson kicked a 28-yard field goal 4:43 into the game to cap a 10-play, 67-yard drive. Kitna connected with Mike Furrey on passes of 26 and 16 yards to set up the field goal.
On the Falcons' first possession, Vick fumbled and rookie linebacker Ernie Sims recovered for the Lions at the Atlanta 44. Three plays later, Jones scored on a 35-yard run around right end, increasing the lead to 10-0 with 6:26 left in the first quarter.
Warrick Dunn broke off a 30-yard run before Vick hit Crumpler with a 19-yard TD with 2:37 remaining in the first quarter. Dunn had just 21 yards on his other 10 carries.
Atlanta was backed up at its 4 when Vick threw a short pass that was picked off by cornerback Dre' Bly, who returned it eight yards before getting pushed out of bounds at the 2.
"To catch any of Mike Vick's passes, you need to have healthy hands," Bly said.
Jones scored on the next play with 8:40 left in the second quarter.
Vick broke off a 33-yard run before Dunn scored on a one-yard run with 1:02 left in the first half, pulling the Falcons within 17-14.
But Atlanta was blanked in the second half.
The Lions had a 1st-and-goal at the 3, but had to settle for a 19-yard field goal by Hanson with 8:26 left in the third quarter. Jones gained two yards on two carries and Kitna threw an incompletion before Hanson's field goal.
Williams caught a pass on the right side before cutting across the field for his 60-yard TD with 13:09 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Hanson kicked a 36-yard field goal with 2:52 left.
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