It looked like Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions had pulled off yet another fourth quarter comeback. The league’s most expensive player had just hit Golden Tate for a 1-yard score to cap an 88-yard drive and take the lead over the Atlanta Falcons 32-30. And then the officiating crew got involved.
The replay official determined Tate had been touched and his knee was down before crossing the goal line. Many did not agree with that assessment.
Still that would have given the Lions 4th and goal at the one-yard-line. Unfortunately, the officials also assessed a 10-second runoff because — had they not gotten the call wrong — the ball would have still been in play with the clock running and eight seconds left. Since Detroit didn’t have any timeouts left, 10 seconds were taken off and thus, the game was over.
Check out the play here:
Looks like Tate clearly got in, right? Well, the replay official somehow found enough visual evidence to overturn it.
Watch the end of the play again in slow-motion:
Even when slowed down, it looks like he crossed the line.
Well, it turns out the officials made the right call, he was short. Check this picture out:
Tate’s knee is clearly down, he’s being touched and he’s short of the goal line. There’s no question about it right there. The officials made the right call.
The bigger issue is the 10-second runoff. I get that the clock should have stayed running and would have likely run out if the correct call had been made. But you can’t punish the Lions for a mistake made by the officials. That is the rule, but it’s an awful one.
In that situation the ball should be spotted at the correct mark, then the officials should start play. It’s completely unfair to penalize the Lions 10 seconds because the referees missed the call.
Would the clock have run out if Tate was ruled down? We’ll never know. But this is a moronic rule that must be changed.