So...NFL fans got a rare treat on October 26th, a 9:30 a.m wakeup football game featuring the Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions playing in London.
And...well, suffice to say at least the Lions fans were happy about it.
Detroit got a last second, 2nd attempt at a game-winning field goal by Matt Prater to squeak out a 22-21 win over Atlanta.
Somehow after a penalty, the Lions lined up for a 42-yard attempt by Prater for the win. As he went to kick it, a delay of game penalty was called. Prater missed that kick.
But another chance, with :02, from 47 yards...that was all the former Broncos All-Pro needed.
Now, mind you, the Falcons looked nearly unbeatable in the 1st half, storming out to a 21-0 lead.
But that would be all the scoring they could muster against the top ranked Lions Defense.
Matthew Stafford threw for 325 yards and 2 TD's, and Golden Tate made up for the absence of Calvin Johnson by catching 7 balls for 151 yards and a score.
But outside 60 yards running and a TD by Steven Jackson, the Falcons struggled yet again, losing their 5th straight game.
We feel for the Falcons and coach Mike Smith. Having covered them for years. We grew to respect what both he and G.M Thomas Dimitroff did, turning possibly one of the worst teams in NFL history back in 2007 into a perennial winner.
But that was a bit of smoke and mirrors. The Falcons were beneficiaries of easy schedules and quite a few lucky breaks that bounced their way. Which masked their weaknesses on both sides of the line.
Smitty and Dimitroff are two of the good guys in Football, well liked and well respected. But it's probably time to make a change as the team is not going to be any better than they are in the near future. The foundation isn't bad, but it's time.
As for Falcons fans--write this year off, you aren't going to get better than this.
The Lions, well, after come from behind wins the past couple weeks with their best player out. The future is bright. Jim Caldwell has brought new energy to the team and may very well be the coach who finally gets a team loaded with #1 draft picks to reach their potential and get in the playoffs.
Highlights to come later today--when the NFL allows them to be online...
The anaylsts at CBSSports.com discuss: