Detroit Lions players and their emotions went through the ringer on Sunday afternoon. After fighting for 60 minutes against the king of the NFC, it appeared they had amazingly come out victorious. Matthew Stafford connected to Golden Tate, who leaped into the endzone for the go-ahead touchdown with eight* seconds left.
But upon review, the officials determined Tate’s knee just barely scraped the Ford Field turf before the ball crossed the plane, and due to a seldom-known rule, a ten-second runoff was required, leaving the Lions without a final chance to score.
Whether the officials ended up making the right call is a matter of debate. What isn’t up for debate, however, is that as a player, that has to be an excruciating way to lose a game.
Here’s a look at how Lions players reacted after the tough loss.
No player had stronger words about the controversy than the Lions’ defensive end. “The only thing I have to say is that we got hosed by the refs,” Washington told MLive in the locker room after the game.
Though most Lions players were a little more careful with their words, Washington was hardly the only player to be critical of the refs.
Agnew had a quiet game against the Falcons, but he took to Twitter after the game to let everyone know how he felt about that ending:
I don't think any atmosphere comes close to Ford Field. Unreal how lit y'all are!— Mal (@jamalagnew) September 24, 2017
Btw that was a TD but.. ☕️— Mal (@jamalagnew) September 24, 2017
Spence was obviously frustrated after the game, but admitted that’s just the way the game goes sometimes.
“It’s just, it sucked the life out of me because I was up there jumping up cheering,” Spence said, according to the Detroit Free Press. “Our offense scored the game-winning drive and just to lose it like that on a 10-second runoff. Not knowing the rule is kind of, ‘Ah, that sucks.’ But I mean, the rules are the rules.”
No player looked more emotionally distraught than the man who had the touchdown taken away from him, Golden Tate. He seemed to be taking the loss in stride after the game.
“After watching a few times, I thought it could go either way,” Tate said (per MLive). 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. And that's when I was kind of like, 'Okay, this could be interesting, we'll see.' But tough, man. It's a tough way to lose."
Matthew Stafford, on the way that game ended: "It's not fun."— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) September 24, 2017
Most Lions players may have held back for fear for facing potential punishment from the league, but former players had no problem talking about how Detroit got the raw end of the deal. Here’s a sampling of how they reacted after the game:
Please explain how that's a 10 second run off when the refs called it a TD and stopped the play?— Kyle Brindza (@kyle_brindza) September 24, 2017
WHAT!!!! Nooo. Don't end the game like that.— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) September 24, 2017
Former Lion Joique Bell went on a rant on his Instagram page after the game. Here’s an transcript of the epic rant:
“I don’t like the way that game ended. They need to do something with the rulebook or something because you cannot end a game like that. I know I’m not with the Lions right now, but I’ll always be a Detroit Lion, and I do not agree with that. they’ve got to fix that. My boys should be 3-0 right now. I don’t like it, at all. They about to make me strap up and come back. For real, they have to do something about this, they’ve got to change the rules, ‘cuz by boys should be 3-0 right now. That’s all I’ve got to say about that right now.”