Falcons win on Megatron’s night

Atlanta clinches home-field advantage, while Johnson breaks Rice’s record

The Atlanta Falcons led Calvin Johnson and the Detroit Lions from start to finish Saturday, but Megatron did manage a monster night of 11 catches for 225 yards to break Jerry Rice’s single-season receiving yards record. Enlarge photo

Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

The Atlanta Falcons led Calvin Johnson and the Detroit Lions from start to finish Saturday, but Megatron did manage a monster night of 11 catches for 225 yards to break Jerry Rice’s single-season receiving yards record.

DETROIT

Matt Ryan got what he wanted, helping the Atlanta Falcons win a game they needed to earn home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

Calvin Johnson had to settle for having a record-breaking night in yet another Detroit Lions’ loss.

Ryan matched a career high with four touchdown passes, two to Roddy White, and Atlanta led from start to finish in a 31-18 victory over Detroit on Saturday night.

Johnson broke Jerry Rice’s NFL single-season yards receiving mark of 1,848. Johnson also became the first player with 100 yards receiving in eight consecutive games and the first with 10 receptions in four games in a row. He had 11 receptions for 225 yards, giving him 1,992 this season.

The Falcons (13-2) pulled away with Ryan’s fourth touchdown pass to wide-open tight end Michael Palmer in the fourth quarter and Matt Bryant’s 20-yard field goal with 3 minutes, 05 seconds left that gave them a 15-point lead.

Ryan was 25 of 32 for 279 yards without a turnover.

Detroit (4-11) dropped its seventh consecutive game.

The Falcons hope playing at home, potentially throughout the conference playoffs, helps them more than it did after the 2010 and 1980 seasons. The Falcons failed to win a game in either postseason, getting routed by Green Bay two years ago and blowing a double-digit, fourth-quarter lead to Dallas three decades ago.

Atlanta advanced to its only Super Bowl with a win at Minnesota after winning a franchise-record 14 games during the 1998 season.

The Falcons won’t have much incentive to match that mark next week at home against Tampa Bay, when they’ll have nothing to gain and something to lose if a key player or more gets hurt.

The Lions, meanwhile, have been relegated to playing for pride this month, and that hasn’t been going very well.

Detroit, which has the longest active losing streak in the league, hasn’t had this long of a skid since it had one lasting an entire season when the laughingstock of a franchise became the league’s first to go 0-16 in 2008.

The Falcons led 21-3 at halftime before letting the Lions pull within five points early in the fourth quarter.

Ryan dashed Detroit’s comeback hopes.