ALLEN PARK, Mich. — The Detroit Lions have acquired veteran defensive end Everson Griffen from the Dallas Cowboys for a conditional draft pick to strengthen one of the team's weaknesses.The Cowboys announced the deal Tuesday night, adding the selection from Detroit could be as high as a fifth-round pick in 2021.The Lions (3-3) are in win-now mode under general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia after they were told by ownership their jobs were in jeopardy if the team didn't at least contend for a spot in the playoffs this season.Without quarterback Dak Prescott, the Cowboys (2-5) are struggling and added an asset for a backup defensive end.Detroit has just eight sacks this season, ranking among the worst in the league at getting to quarterbacks.The 32-year-old Griffen has 77 career sacks, including 2 1/2 this season as a reserve in seven games with the Cowboys.He gives the Lions a desperately needed pass-rushing option to go along with Trey Flowers and Romeo Okwara, whose brother, Julian, was put on injured reserve last week. Detroit drafted Julian Okwara in the third round this year.Griffen signed a $6 million, one-year deal in August with Dallas as a free agent. In February, he opted out of the final three years of his contract with the Vikings and became a free agent.The Minnesota Vikings drafted Griffen in the fourth round of the 2010 draft and he spent 10 years with the franchise. He didn’t become a starter until his fifth season in 2014, then averaged nearly 11 sacks per year over four seasons.Griffen took five games off two years ago to treat his mental health. He was taken by ambulance to a hospital the day before a game in 2018 after a series of incidents in which he threatened gun violence in a hotel lobby and made repeated comments about believing people were trying to kill him.___AP Pro Football Writer Schuyler Dixon in Arlington, Texas, contributed.___More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFLLarry Lage, The Associated Press
In the disjointed football autumn that is 2020, it somehow makes perfect sense that defenders were left celebrating touchdowns by running backs who accidentally reached the end zone.Twice in one weekend, once in the Big Ten Conference on Saturday, which led to Indiana’s stunning 36-35 win over Penn State in overtime, and the other in the NFL on Sunday, when the Atlanta Falcons — who else? — flopped their way through yet another fourth-quarter fiasco in losing to the appreciative Detroit Lions 23-22.The Falcons should have learned their lesson from the Nittany Lions 24 hours earlier.Penn State’s Devyn Ford got the handoff with a 1-point lead at the Hoosiers 14 and only 1:42 to play in Bloomington in the rivals’ first game of the coronavirus-delayed season. The third-string tailback slowed as he approached the goal line.If only he went down, the Nittany Lions could have run out the clock because Indiana had just one timeout left.Instead, the sophomore tiptoed into the end zone, giving Penn State an eight-point lead but leaving Indiana just enough time to tie it and force overtime, which they did with a touchdown and 2-point conversion.The Hoosiers then won it on another 2-point conversion when quarterback Michael Penix Jr. rolled left and dived, barely touching the pylon with the football in his outstretched right hand and giving Indiana its first win over a top-10 team in 33 years.Penn State coach James Franklin defended his running back and refused to blame the ill-advised touchdown for the excruciating loss. But he also indicated his players were instructed not to score in that situation.“We went through that situation this week, we went through that situation on the sideline and, obviously, we could have handled it better, and I could have handled it better,” Franklin said. “But I don’t want to make it about that one play.”Teammate Pat Freiermuth consoled Ford afterward, imploring him to “stay off social media, head down and just flush it down, and I’ll have your back regardless.”“I’ve been in his shoes in high school once,” Freiermuth explained. “It’s very hard to see that end zone open up like that and just think to yourself, ‘Get down.’”If it makes Ford feel any better, Todd Gurley II made the same mistake Sunday.The Lions let Gurley score with just over a minute remaining to get the ball back, giving Matthew Stafford enough time to drive the Lions to the winning TD as time expired.T.J. Hockenson’s 11-yard TD grab tied it and Matt Prater nailed a 48-yard extra point to give the Lions a 23-22 win after an excessive celebration penalty moved the ball to the 30-yard line.Trailing 16-14, the Falcons were trying to run down the clock and kick a chip-shot field goal for the win when they picked up a first down at the Lions 10 with just over a minute remaining.The Lions had used up all their timeouts on the drive, so their only hope was to allow a quick TD and they got out of the way as Gurley took the handoff from Matt Ryan. Only safety Will Harris got a hand on the runner, but he released Gurley about 3 yards shy of the goal line.“It was great situational defence awareness right there,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said, beaming.Gurley realized what the Lions were doing and tried to go down shy of the end zone, but his momentum carried him too far as he landed on the goal line with his ball-carrying left hand.As Gurley fell across the goal line, Lions linebacker Jamie Collins signalled touchdown as his teammates celebrated around him.“My job is just going down,” Gurley lamented. “I’m taking all the responsibility.”The Falcons converted a 2-point conversion to make it 22-16, but Stafford had just enough time to deliver another stunning fourth-quarter dagger to the Falcons, who fired their head coach earlier this month after becoming the first team to ever blow back-to-back 15-point fourth-quarter leads.“I was mad as hell,” Gurley said of his game-losing touchdown. “I was trying not to (score), but my momentum took me in. It’s kind of crazy.”And so perfect for 2020.___AP National Writer Paul Newberry and AP Sports Writer Michael Marot contributed to this report.___Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton___More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFLArnie Stapleton, The Associated Press
Matthew Stafford had the ball and Matt Prater knew it was time to start kicking.