Following the last second loss the Detroit Lions suffered to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, longtime NFL writer Peter King believes the ending was unfair.
Starting their season 2-0, the Detroit Lions were riding high going into their Week Three battle with the Atlanta Falcons. Also undefeated going into the matchup, the Falcons would present the toughest test so far for the up and coming Lions. Atlanta was a key play or two from being crowned Super Bowl champions last season, and their roster is virtually identical.
Down seven points just ten seconds into the fourth quarter, the Lions’ offense was once again asked to win a contest in the waning moments. With the Falcons up 30-26, Detroit mounted an impressive 11-play drive to move the ball from their own 11-yard line to Atlanta’s one yard line with :12 seconds left in the game.
On what would turn out to be the final play of the contest, Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford connected with wide receiver Golden Tate on a quick slant route that the officials on the field called a touchdown with :08 seconds left. This would have given Detroit the lead, 32-30, with an extra point attempt pending.
But the touchdown call was reversed after official review, and a mandatory 10-second runoff ended the game and gave the Falcons the win. If the officials had called the play correctly, ruling Tate down short of the goal line, the Lions’ offense would have had eight seconds to get reset and one final play off.
Would they have? We’ll never know. But one longtime NFL writer believes the Lions at least deserved that chance.
"“If the throw to Tate had been complete, but he was clearly short of the goal line, and the clock was running, and there was eight seconds when he went down, it’s likely the Lions would have gotten to the line in time to get one last play off on fourth down,” explained Peter King of the MMQB.com. “Likely, but not certain. I believe in the sense of fairness. And a 10-second runoff after a replay in such a desperate time, with no attempt to maneuver the clock, is unfair.”"
Perhaps what happened to the Detroit Lions on Sunday will force the NFL to rethink the implementation of that 10-second runoff. But that won’t change the fact the Lions’ have logged their first loss of the young season. The best the team can do now is try to forget about that game and move forward.