DETROIT - Rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Jared Bernhardt with 1:30 left to give the Atlanta Falcons a 27-23 win over the Detroit Lions in the preseason opener for both teams Friday night.
The Lions took a 23-20 lead on Riley Patterson's 28-yard field goal with 5:57 to play, then forced Atlanta into a three-and-out series. Detroit quarterback David Blough, though, fumbled at his 33-yard line with two minutes left.
Facing fourth-and-9 from the 21 with 1:37 left, second-year Atlanta coach Arthur Smith decided to avoid a field-goal attempt for a stalemate and instead gave Ridder a chance to win the game.
"There was no way we were going to kick - no one wants a tie," he said. "We were going to try to make a play and try to win.