Detroit Lions' gift TD from Atlanta Falcons' Todd Gurley makes him 'mad as hell'

Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press

Todd Gurley was not happy.

Actually, he was a lot more than not happy.

“I was mad as hell,” the Atlanta Falcons running back said of mistakenly scoring the go-ahead touchdown with 1:04 left in Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions.

A running back angry about scoring?

Strange but true.

Yet there it was. Gurley tried to stop short of the goal line but he failed. Lions linebacker Jamie Collins added to the peculiarity of the moment when he stood over Gurley and made a touchdown signal as the Falcons took a 22-16 lead after a 2-point conversion.

What?

[ Grades: Matthew Stafford gets first A of season after clutch TD ]

Lions linebacker Jamie Collins signals "touchdown" as Falcons running back Todd Gurley tries to stop short of the end zone to control the final minutes of the clock in the fourth quarter of the Lions' 23-22 win on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Atlanta.
Lions linebacker Jamie Collins signals "touchdown" as Falcons running back Todd Gurley tries to stop short of the end zone to control the final minutes of the clock in the fourth quarter of the Lions' 23-22 win on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Atlanta.

It was all because the Falcons knew the score meant they had given the ball back to the Lions with plenty of time left.

“I was trying not to,” Gurley said. “My momentum took me in. It’s kind of crazy. The last time I played Detroit, I went down. This time, I end up scoring. It’s like, 'what goes around comes around.'

“It’s just one of those unfortunate situations. I’ve been in plenty of those situations since my rookie year — about six or seven. I’ve always gotten down. It’s an unfortunate one right there.”

After the Falcons scored, the Lions marched 75 yards and scored to beat the Falcons, 23-22, as time expired. It was Matthew Stafford’s 30th career fourth-quarter comeback and his 36th career winning drive.

[Lions needed a miracle to beat Atlanta Falcons. Todd Gurley gave them one ]

“I mean, that’s the point of going down,” Gurley said. “Just not putting the ball in the hands of — especially someone like Matthew Stafford. He’s known for comebacks. Once again, he showed why he’s an elite quarterback in this league.

“It didn’t matter. For me it’s like, yeah, the defense has to stop them but it’s my job of just going down. Not putting the matter in anyone else’s hands. It’s just taking responsibility.”

What was perhaps even stranger than Gurley’s accidental touchdown was the fact the Falcons even ran a play at all.

The Falcons had first-and-goal at the Detroit 10-yard line with 1:12 left and the Lions out of time-outs. The Falcons were down, 16-14, and only needed to take a knee twice and kick a short field goal as time expired for a 17-14 win.

Instead, the Falcons handed off the ball to Gurley, who ran up the middle. Linebacker Jarrad Davis and safety Will Harris made only half-hearted attempts to stop him.

“I had my helmet on thinking the game was probably going to be over,” Stafford said. “(The defense) let them score, gave us a chance and that’s all we needed. Proud of those guys for making that play.”

[ Lions fans offer to pay Kenny Golladay's new contract as they react to wild win ]

Lions coach Matt Patricia credited his defense for making a smart play and allowing Gurley to score.

“Yeah, I mean, it was great situational defense — great situational defense awareness right there,” Patricia said. “I thought it was perfect.

“The defense, give the players credit. They executed an outstanding job and very situationally aware right there. It was honestly exactly how you want it, so it was a great job by them.”

What made the play even stranger was that the Falcons had talked specifically about not scoring and just stopping at the 1-yard line.

Falcons running back Todd Gurley scores a touchdown against the Lions during the second half of the Lions' 23-22 win on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Atlanta.
Falcons running back Todd Gurley scores a touchdown against the Lions during the second half of the Lions' 23-22 win on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Atlanta.

“Yes,” Falcons interim coach Raheem Morris said. “You know, it was talked about right at that moment.

“We knew that was kind of going to be their ideal choice for us to get in the end zone so they could have a chance to go down there and score. So we wanted to take the knee on the one and he obviously tried and he fell in the end zone at the last second there, getting tripped up a little bit.”

Gurley was fully aware of the Falcons’ intentions not to score. Atlanta had plenty of time to discuss the situation because the Lions had called their final timeout after the previous play.

“Yeah, we talked about it in the huddle probably a couple of plays prior to that,” he said. “I know that. Like I’ve said, I’ve been in multiple situations over my years in the league. Just one of those unfortunate moments.”

But perhaps the strangest thing is that Gurley said the Falcons had no discussions about taking a knee.

“No, there wasn’t,” he said. “It’s like you can put the blame on that, put the blame on this. I’m not that type of person. I’ll man up and take the responsibility. I tried to go down but I didn’t. Trying is not good enough. Just have to do better on my behalf.”

Contact Carlos Monarrez at cmonarrez@freepress.com and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions' gift TD from Todd Gurley makes him 'mad as hell'