Now, had Golden Tate III not been touched as he fell to the goal line he could have rolled, crawled, walked, ran or did cartwheels in and still scored the TD. But Golden was touched so when his knee hit the ground the ball was to be spotted where the nose of it was located, which was about 5 inches shy of the goal line. Okay fine, it's 4th down, there is still 8 seconds on the clock, the Lions are 5 inches away from winning... BUT because they have no timeouts left there is a 10 second clock run off (or at least that is how I understand it). 10 from 8 makes negative 2... or game over. Now understand, the Lions did nothing wrong. There was no flag. There was no penalty or other thing to point at the Lions and say "no sir, you are in the wrong". The officials called it a TD. Had they not the Lions had time to re-line up and probably get off one last play to attempt to score, from the 5 inch line. But no, they are forced to have 10 seconds run off the clock. I asked a Hockey "super" fan if Hockey had any such clock depleting rules... he said nope. I asked a basketball fan, nope. I already know there is no clock in baseball, so that's a nope. Thus, the Lions lost their first game of the year against the NFC 2016 Champion team because the officials got the call wrong and due to the rules wouldn't let them try their 4th down attempt. No other major sport in the USA has any such kind of rule of any kind. If ever there was a football version of the definition of the semi-modern phrase of Wait! What? this would be it.
Okay, so now that I clarified my position on that... let's see actual facts. Mathew Stafford was 25 of 45 (55.56%) for 264 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions. A respectable but not really great or efficient game set of stats. He did throw off his back foot a couple of times showing poor mechanics (on those couple throws) and he was off on his placement a few times as well. Other then those 4 or 5 (or if pushing it, 6) times, Matthew Stafford did a pretty decent job of running the Lions offense. Not everyone else on the offense even got that close to good (looking at you Ebron, and the OL).
Eric Ebron had a number of drops, at least one of (if not two of) which might have had the Lions scoring the go ahead score before the 8 seconds on the clock thing, and we would still not know about that rule that's in the books. Other players also had issues during the game, even the coaches who took at least a quarter and a half before figuring out they could not run to the left (I had that figured out a week ago and re-iterated it pregame and during the first quarter). Meanwhile, the defense and special teams played a pretty decent game. Not perfect, oh no, they will have plenty of things to talk about in the film review tomorrow. But all in all, the offense lost this game, with help by the coaching staff and the officials and the NFL Rule book. Odd how that always seems to happen to the Lions.
Now I don't want to make this all about the Lions, or the officials, or the rule book, or the coaching staff, as the Falcons played a very VERY good game. Matt Ryan (the QBs were Mathew and Matt, the kickers were Matt and Matt, how's that for odd?) was 24 of 35 (68.57%) for 294 yards with 2 touchdowns but 3 interceptions (further proof of the Lions defense doing well, in the take away department anyway). The Lions had only 71 yards rushing (19 by Stafford) while the Falcons managed 151 yards (not their usual efficient run defense there). Both teams were without some key players, though I'd say the key players on the Lions side were maybe just a bit more key then their opponent. I suppose that can be debated as much as the rule book, so I won't.
What it comes down to is this: The Lions backups on defense are not starting caliber (at this point in time, as in not ready) and the Lions OL was only 40% intact and very subpar. Stafford was not his self and the officials and rule book were their ever over-present selves, as we Lions fans have learned from repeated exposure. I'm sure I'm not the only fan who went Wait! What?! at the end of this game. I'm also sure some are still confused about it. Hopefully someone in the NFL is as well, so yet another rule can be fixed due to the Lions losing because of it.
Okay, so let's say the Lions should have won before the final play that killed the fun... well then, the Lions just went toe to toe with the current NFC Conference Champions and held their own for the most part. Not due to an overpowering offense, nor to a un-duplicate-able (sp?) defense, as the defense has done similar feats already this year. Not even to some fluke plays by special teams. No, the Lions, as a team, competed, very well, for about 59 minutes and some odd seconds. Some would even say 59 minutes and 52 seconds, and I'd have no qualms with that. So despite the loss, despite the way it was lost, I'm at least encouraged by the game being as close as it was. Since the division has suddenly become highly competitive this, if it can continue, just might make a difference before the year is over. Not this game, but the lessons learned from it and continued great play by the team its self.
Next week the Lions go to Minnesota to play the Vikings. I expect the results of that game to be a whole lot better. I don't think the Vikings will be prepared for the "payback" the Lions are going to be willing to give out by then. There is no way this loss will be taken lightly and I expect the team as a whole to respond accordingly. My prediction for next week, Lions 27-Vikings 17.