By Larry Lage, Associated Press
DETROIT (AP) — Matthew Stafford’s pass to Golden Tate was ruled to be just short of the goal line in the final seconds, overturning the call on the field and allowing the Atlanta Falcons to hold on for a 30-26 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
Stafford threw a slant to Tate and a video review determined he was down just inside the 1 with 8 seconds left. By rule, 10 seconds had to run off the clock, and that ended the game because the Lions didn’t have any timeouts.
The defending NFC champion Falcons (3-0) overcame Matt Ryan’s three interceptions and many other mistakes, including on Detroit’s last drive.
Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant was called for pass interference in the end zone on a third-and-10 from the Atlanta 19, giving the Lions a first down at the 1 with 19 seconds left. Trufant was flagged for holding on a second-and-30 from the Falcons 38 earlier in the drive, allowing Detroit to extend the drive.
Detroit (2-1) never led in the game, but failed to pull off another comeback in the fourth quarter.
TAKING A KNEE
Detroiter Rico Lavelle, who sang the anthem, added a new layer to pregame protests around the league. Just before finishing the song and belting out “brave,” Lavelle went down on his right knee, bowed his head and raised his right fist wrapped around the microphone.
Eight Lions and two Falcons also took a knee on the sideline as owners for both teams locked arms with players and coaches.
Falcons: Atlanta was without three starters: defensive end Vic Beasley (hamstring), defensive end Courtney Upshaw (knee/ankle) and Ryan Schraeder (concussion). The Falcons appeared to miss Schraeder in particular because his replacement, Ty Sambrailo, gave up two sacks in the first half.
Lions: Detroit was also missing a trio of first-string players: linebacker Jarrad Davis (concussion), safety Tavon Wilson (shoulder) and center Travis Swanson (ankle). Lions defensive end Anthony Zettel left the game with an injured right knee, but was able to return.
Falcons: Host Buffalo next Sunday.
Lions: Play at Minnesota next Sunday.