ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — The Detroit Lions likely would have had one more snap on fourth down inside the 1 against Atlanta if on-field officials made the original right call when Golden Tate was stopped just short of the goal line.
The ruling on the field with 8 seconds left was touchdown, which was incorrect as determined by a video review. That ended Detroit’s chance to win due to an obscure NFL rule that took the remaining time off the clock in a 30-26 loss to the Falcons.
“We didn’t get another shot like we’d thought we’d get,” Detroit coach Jim Caldwell said.
Fox analyst Mike Pereira, the former VP of officiating for the NFL, was a part of the league committee meetings in 2010 when the 10-second rule was created.
“A game hasn’t ended like this since the rule started,” Pereira told The Associated Press on Monday night. “And Detroit is a victim of the rule.”
Pereira, now an analyst for Fox, said if the call on the field initially was correct and the game was stopped for review just before the Lions appeared to be in position to snap the ball, they would’ve had an opportunity to have one more play with the time left and a running clock.
“The whole scenario is your worst nightmare as a replay official, quite frankly,” Pereira told The AP. “It’s realistic to think the Lions could’ve gotten another play off, but they didn’t because of this weird situation.”
Caldwell, though, refused to blame the on-field officials, the replay system or league rules that worked against his team.
“You’ve got to do something about it rather than talk about it,” Caldwell said. “I don’t believe in excuses and all of those kinds of things. They don’t work, and they’re not good for us. We just need to go back to work.”
The Lions (2-1) travel to play Minnesota (2-1) on Sunday in a matchup of teams tied with Green Bay atop the NFC North.
“We can beat anybody, no matter if its home, away, the backyard, wherever it is,” Tate said.
Detroit might need every day and hour it can get to move on mentally from experiencing the highs of almost staying undefeated with a win over the defending NFC champions to the lows of losing a game in crushing fashion.
“The idea is to get it behind us as quickly as we can, and a lot of that has to do with just guys making up their mind it’s over and done with,” Caldwell said. “But the close ones make you think about it a little bit. We understand that part of it.”
Safety Glover Quin has humbly bragged he’s faced the NFL’s best quarterbacks and wide receivers after nearly splitting his eight-plus year career evenly in both conferences. Quin has also seen countless other games while scouting opponents, but the latest game he participate in …
“Never saw one like that,” Quin said.
Tate also had not, and wasn’t aware of the league rule that ended the game.
“I didn’t personally find out about the 10-second runoff until I was actually speaking to the referees and then they brought it to my knowledge,” Tate said.
Join the club.
Longtime Lions fans have watched possible wins turn into disheartening losses due to on-field officiating and off-field reviews, and they now have another one to put on the pile.
Akeem Spence is in his first season in Detroit after playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for four years. Before playing the Falcons, the defensive tackle was part of an emotional moment as he and seven teammates kneeled during the anthem. After the game, a finish he called “crazy,” stirred other feelings.
“It sucked the life out of me,” Spence said. “I was up there jumping up cheering, our offense scored the game-winning drive and just to lose it like that on a 10-second runoff. But I mean, the rules are the rules, so back to the drawing board next week and just try to get it done early and not wait for it to come down to the last drive.”