When Matthew Stafford connected with Golden Tate for a touchdown late in Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons, it gave the Detroit Lions a 32-30 lead with just 8 seconds left.
Until it didn't.
Unfortunately, for the Lions and their fans, the play was reviewed and eventually overturned. The explanation was that Tate's knee was down and he was touched while the ball was just short of the goal line. In addition, since the Lions did not have any timeouts remaining, the rule states there is an automatic 10-second runoff which must occur. That, of course, ran the final 8 seconds off the clock and the game was over with the Falcons winning 30-26.
Immediately after the call was made, everybody and their brother took to social media to voice their displeasure with the NFL and their officials. Most complained that there was not conclusive evidence that Tate's knee was down before the ball crossed the goal line. In my opinion, Tate's knee WAS down (shown below) before the ball crossed the goal line and the officials got that part of the call correct. In fact, they even got the 10-second runoff correct.
That being said, the officials dropped the ball in a big way by failing to adjust the clock accordingly after the call was overturned. There were 8 seconds left on the clock when the call was signaled that Tate scored what looked to be the go-ahead touchdown, but that was not the time left when the replay ruled him down short of the goal line.
As you can see in the side-by-side photo below, there were clearly 11 seconds remaining when Tate was ruled down by contact short of the goal line. So, even with the mandatory 10-second runoff, the Lions would have had time to snap the ball and run one more play. Unfortunately, the officials must have completely failed to take the time on the clock into consideration before making the final call.
— Matt Snyder (@snyder_matthew) September 25, 2017
So, in summary, was Golden Tate stopped short of the goal line? In my opinion, yes. Should the 10-second runoff have happened? Absolutely, that's the rule. Should the game have ended right then and there? No Sir! The Lions should have been able to run one more play to decide the game. Maybe they would have scored and maybe they would have been stuffed, but at least it would have been fair.
Once again, the Detroit Lions were cost a potential win because of officiating and all they can do now is put it behind them and move on to the next game.
*Special Note: Golden Tate was interfered with prior to catching the pass, which explains why he ended up short of the goal line. If the officials noticed that on the replay then why reverse a call that will cost a team a game?