Detroit Lions 3 questions: They were cheated against Atlanta Falcons
Three questions with Free Press sports writer Carlos Monarrez after the Detroit Lions' 30-26 loss the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday at Ford Field.
What did you think about the strange ending to the game?
Simply put, the Lions were cheated. It’s a stupid rule that left the Lions with no recourse. They were essentially punished by the officials, who made the wrong call on a close play, with a reversal by the league in New York. The only outcome the Lions could have hoped for was to have the officials make the correct call by ruling Golden Tate down by contact inside the 1-yard line, then attempt to run one final play with 8 seconds left. Maybe the Lions wouldn’t have gotten off the play if that had been the call in real-time, but at least their fate would have been in their hands, not that of the officials. I’m betting the Lions will, and should lobby to have the runoff rule changed.
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Where does this game rank among the crazier endings you’ve seen at a Lions game?
Right at the top. We’ve seen some wild ones before. Take your pick from last year’s eight comebacks, the batgate game in Seattle in 2015, Aaron Rodgers’ javelin throw on the final play later that season, Justin Tucker’s 61-yard field goal in 2013.
But this takes the cake, especially for what was at stake: Supremacy in the NFC. It felt like the Lions played well enough to win and, because of the strange 10-second runoff rule, it felt like victory — or the chance at victory — was stolen from them. We’ll see if this steels the Lions’ resolve or introduces some self-doubt with tough games looming the next two weeks.
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Where do the Lions go from here?
The Lions didn’t win, but they played well enough to win and earned plenty of respect throughout the NFL with this performance. Their next two games — at the Minnesota Vikings and at home against the Carolina Panthers — won’t be cakewalks. But they are both winnable games. I think the Lions should, and will win those games, plus the week after on the road against the New Orleans Saints. That would make them 5-1 at the bye and start serious talk about making the playoffs and making noise once they get there. But it’s different playing with expectations, and we’ll have to wait and see how the Lions handle the role of favorite.
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Contact Carlos Monarrez: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.