Jared Goff threw a tiebreaking 45-yard touchdown pass to Sam LaPorta early in the second quarter, and the Detroit Lions beat the Atlanta Falcons 20-6 on Sunday.
The Lions (2-1) earned a much-needed win after following a hype-fueling victory at Kansas City with a deflating loss at home to Seattle.
The Falcons (2-1) failed to protect Desmond Ridder, who was sacked seven times by a team that had only one sack in two games.
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Detroit scored first, taking advantage of favorable field position by forcing a punt with sacks on two straight snaps.
Riley Patterson’s 37-yard field goal capped a 48-yard drive that took 6:31 off the clock late in the first quarter.
Atlanta responded with Younghoe Koo’s 48-yard field goal.
On the ensuing possession, LaPorta was wide open and Goff floated a long pass to him.
Goff was 22 of 33 for 243 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also had a 3-yard run for a score that converted a third down and gave Detroit a 20-3 lead early in the fourth.
LaPorta, the No. 34 pick overall out of Iowa, scored his first touchdown. He had eight receptions for 84 yards.
LaPorta has 18 catches, the most by an NFL tight end through three games. The previous record was 17 receptions for Keith Jackson in 1988 for Philadelphia at the start of his three-time All-Pro career.
Detroit’s Amon-Ra St. Brown had nine receptions for 102 yards and rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs ran 17 times for 80 yards, surpassing the 59 yards he had on the ground through the first two games.
Ridder was 21 of 38 for 201 yards.
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Rookie Bijan Robinson had 10 carries for 33 yards and four catches for 27 yards after he had 255 yards of offense in his first two games with the Falcons.
Falcons: RB Cordarrelle Patterson (thigh) was inactive after being listed as questionable. CB Jeff Okudah (foot) returned from an injury to make his Atlanta debut against the team that drafted and traded him.
Lions: OT Taylor Decker (ankle) was inactive for a second straight game and OT Matt Nelson (ankle) and OT Dan Skipper (hamstring) were hurt during the game.
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Falcons: Travel to face the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday in London.
Lions: On short week, play the Green Bay Packers on road Thursday night.