Lions
Falcons
21 - 34 Final
  for this game

Turner torches Lions as Falcons win opener

Sep 7, 2008 - 9:52 PM By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Michael Turner stole the spotlight in Matt Ryan's NFL coming out party.

Turner rushed for a franchise-record 220 yards and found the end zone twice Sunday to lead the Atlanta Falcons to a 34-21 victory over the Detroit Lions in the season opener for both teams.

Jerious Norwood rushed for 93 yards on 14 carries and scored a touchdown and Michael Jenkins caught a scoring pass from Ryan for the Falcons (1-0), who also set a franchise record with 318 rushing yards.

"We've said from the very beginning that we wanted to be a team that runs the football," said Falcons head coach Mike Smith, who picked up his first NFL coaching victory. "When you run the football, you can dictate the game. We did a nice job today."

Turner, a 2005 fifth-round pick of the San Diego Chargers, was hopelessly buried behind 2006 league MVP LaDainian Tomlinson over his first three years in the NFL.?? But Turner rushed for 164 yards on 43 carries while replacing an injured Tomlinson in three postseason games last year.

The Falcons added the 5-10, 237-pound Turner as a free agent in the offseason to replace the aging Warrick Dunn at the halfback position.

Turner amazed and awed right out of the gate.

"It's a new era in Falcons football," Turner said. "Hopefully, we're going to get more wins."

Staked to a 7-0 lead, Turner quickly emerged out of Tomlinson's shadow, breaking two tackles and rumbling 66-yards over left tackle for Atlanta's second score at 9:39 of the first quarter. Turner scored Atlanta's third touchdown of the afternoon on a 5-yard streak over left tackle six minutes later.

Turner was just 30 yards shy of his personal best of 147 after one quarter. By the end of the contest, he left the field as Atlanta's most prolific single-game rusher, eclipsing the mark of 202 yards set by Gerald Riggs in 1984.

"Being behind LaDanian Tomlinson and seeing him break records all the time, I always wondered what it would be like to break a record," Turner said. "I didn't even know I was close to breaking a record today. It was just something that happened."

Ryan didn't have that bad of a debut either.?? Atlanta drafted the quarterback with the No. 3 pick to officially put an end to the Michael Vick era, and the rookie was handed the starting job after the Falcons' third preseason game.

It was a new era and a new day, as Ryan threw a touchdown right away.

On his first NFL passing attempt, Ryan found a wide-open Jenkins, who rumbled 62 yards down the left sideline past Travis Fisher and Gerald Alexander for the opening score just 97 seconds into the contest.

"It was a good play call," Ryan said. "We got a look that was good for that play. Michael Jenkins made a good play and outran everybody."

It wasn't until after the TD throw that the poised Ryan acted a little more like a rookie.

"I didn't even get (the ball from my first TD pass)," said Ryan, who completed 9-of-13 passes for 161 yards. "I was so excited celebrating with everybody that I lost track of the ball."

Detroit drew within 21-14 at the break with a 3-yard second-quarter TD run by Kevin Smith and an 11-yard scoring strike from Jon Kitna to Roy Williams.

The Lions drove down to the Falcons 38 on the opening possession of the second half, but strong safety Lawyer Milloy stymied the threat by intercepting Kitna at the Atlanta 13.

Atlanta cruised from there, building a 31-14 lead on a 50-yard field goal from Jason Elam and a 10-yard TD run from Norwood.

"(Milloy's interception) was the turning point of the football game," Mike Smith said. "They were moving the football, and Lawyer was able to intercept it and return it back to the plus side of the 50.

"At that point we were able to get points off that. The next time our offense had the ball, they were able to score. That was a 10-0 run, which I thought was very pivotal in changing the game."

Kitna found Casey Fitzsimmons for a 1-yard TD strike to cut the lead to 31-21 before Elam added a 25-yarder for the final margin.

"We have to move forward and get back to the chalkboard," said Kevin Smith, who rushed for 48 yards on 16 carries. "We have 15 more games. We'll work harder and get back to where we need to be."

Kitna completed 24-of-33 passes for 262 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

"Give (the Falcons) a lot of credit," Kitna said. "They made it tough on us all day."

John Abraham had three sacks for the Falcons, who improved to 3-0 in regular-season openers at the Georgia Dome.








  • ** CONFIRMED **
    NFL
    DETROIT 21
    ATLANTA 34 FINAL

    Sep 7 3:55 PM


  • NFL
    FG ATL
    JASON ELAM 25 YD
    DETROIT 21
    ATLANTA 34 10:23 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Lions 21, Falcons 34  4th - 10:23Sep 7 3:31 PM


  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    DETROIT 0 14 7 21
    ATLANTA 21 0 10 31 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: ATL - TD, MICHAEL JENKINS 62 YD PASS FROM
    MATT RYAN (JASON ELAM KICK), 1:27.
    Drive: 3 plays, 74 yards in 1:27.
    ATLANTA 7-0
    ATL - TD, MICHAEL TURNER 66 YD RUN (JASON
    ELAM KICK), 7:27.

    Sep 7 3:19 PM


  • NFL
    TD DET
    CASEY FITZSIMMONS 1 YD PASS FROM JON KITNA
    (JASON HANSON KICK)
    DETROIT 21
    ATLANTA 31 1:40 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Lions 21, Falcons 31  3rd - 1:40Sep 7 3:17 PM


  • NFL
    TD ATL
    JERIOUS NORWOOD 10 YD RUN
    (JASON ELAM KICK)
    DETROIT 14
    ATLANTA 31 5:57 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Lions 14, Falcons 31  3rd - 5:57Sep 7 3:06 PM


  • NFL
    FG ATL
    JASON ELAM 50 YD
    DETROIT 14
    ATLANTA 24 9:45 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Lions 14, Falcons 24  3rd - 9:45Sep 7 2:53 PM


  • NFL
    HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    DETROIT 0 14 14
    ATLANTA 21 0 21 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: ATL - TD, MICHAEL JENKINS 62 YD PASS FROM
    MATT RYAN (JASON ELAM KICK), 1:27.
    Drive: 3 plays, 74 yards in 1:27.
    ATLANTA 7-0
    ATL - TD, MICHAEL TURNER 66 YD RUN (JASON
    ELAM KICK), 7:27. Driv

    Sep 7 2:30 PM


  • NFL
    DETROIT 14
    ATLANTA 21 0:11 LEFT, 2ND QTR
    ATL BALL ON ATL 34 YD LINE
    1ST AND 10

    Lions 14, Falcons 21  2nd - 0:11Sep 7 2:29 PM
  • 30
    roots
    McTool Added 5 roots

    Lions 7, Falcons 21  2nd - 4:06Sep 7 2:12 PM


  • NFL
    TD DET
    KEVIN SMITH 3 YD RUN
    (JASON HANSON KICK)
    DETROIT 7
    ATLANTA 21 4:06 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Lions 7, Falcons 21  2nd - 4:06Sep 7 2:07 PM
  • 25
    roots
    cyknus Added 5 roots

    Lions 0, Falcons 21  End of 1stSep 7 1:44 PM


  • NFL
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    DETROIT 0 0
    ATLANTA 21 21 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: ATL - TD, MICHAEL JENKINS 62 YD PASS FROM
    MATT RYAN (JASON ELAM KICK), 1:27.
    Drive: 3 plays, 74 yards in 1:27.
    ATLANTA 7-0
    ATL - TD, MICHAEL TURNER 66 YD RUN (JASON
    ELAM KICK), 7:27.

    Sep 7 1:40 PM


  • NFL
    DETROIT 0
    ATLANTA 21 3:14 LEFT, 1ST QTR
    DET BALL ON DET 26 YD LINE
    1ST AND 10

    Lions 0, Falcons 21  1st - 3:14Sep 7 1:36 PM


  • NFL
    TD ATL
    MICHAEL TURNER 66 YD RUN
    (JASON ELAM KICK)
    DETROIT 0
    ATLANTA 14 7:33 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Lions 0, Falcons 14  1st - 7:33Sep 7 1:19 PM


  • NFL
    TD ATL
    MICHAEL JENKINS 62 YD PASS FROM MATT RYAN
    (JASON ELAM KICK)
    DETROIT 0
    ATLANTA 7 13:33 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Lions 0, Falcons 7  1st - 13:33Sep 7 1:07 PM
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    CubsnCards Added 5 roots

    Lions vs. FalconsSep 7 11:01 AM
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    roots
    GREGnKY Added 5 roots

    Lions vs. FalconsSep 7 10:36 AM
  • 10
    roots
    celticfan1958 Added 5 roots

    Lions vs. FalconsSep 1 4:33 AM
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    DJRob Added 5 roots

    Lions vs. FalconsAug 27 9:24 PM