Tate on last play: Seems Lions always on 'wrong side of success'

James Hawkins
The Detroit News
Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate falls into the end zone for what was called a 1-yard touchdown reception. The call was reversed on replay and the Lions lost the game.

Allen Park — Golden Tate’s phone was buzzing in his locker with congratulatory texts.

But the messages quickly took a consolatory tone moments later after Tate’s last-second touchdown was overturned and the Lions ended up on the short end of a gut-wrenching 30-26 loss to the Falcons last weekend.

“You can't really unsend text messages,” Tate said Wednesday before practice. “I had a lot of people say, 'Oh my gosh. Game winner. Amazing. Go Lions. We love you guys.' And then minutes later, 'Oh crap, I'm sorry. Well, dinner is on me next time.' A lot of that happened.”

There was also plenty of debate online regarding Tate’s diving catch inside the 1-yard line. Was his knee really down? Was he ever contacted by a Falcons defender? Should there have been more than eight seconds left on the clock?

While Tate didn’t go home and do a frame-by-frame breakdown of the last play, he heard all the swirling questions about his reception that ultimately led to a review, a reversal and a controversial finish.

As protests divide, Lions’ Tate seeks dialogue

“Sunday night after the game was difficult because there's a lot of perspectives, a lot of things that were brought up via social media if my knee was down, if I had control of the ball, was there 11 seconds when they called, things like that,” Tate said. “It's frustrating but we just got to stay out of that situation and control what we can control and that's getting that job done earlier.”

However, Tate couldn’t help but question the logic of the 10-second runoff, which effectively ended the game since the catch took place in the final two minutes, stopped the clock, was reversed and the Lions had no timeouts remaining.

“As far the call, rules are rules. Referee saw it the way he saw it,” he said. “The only thing I would strongly disagree and hopefully that the league will look at is the whole 10-second runoff. We didn't challenge the play, so, therefore, we shouldn't really be penalized for it. In that case, we're on the half-yard line, we should've had one second left — actually we should've had eight seconds left or whatever it is.

“We didn't even get a chance, we didn't get a shot to do anything. It's like OK, all touchdowns are reviewed. If they don't call it a touchdown, you did catch it, 10-second runoff, ball game. That sucks. It seems like the Lions are always the ones that are on the wrong side of success. Hopefully, we get it fixed.”

Tate was quick to add it’s a long season and he’s focused on putting all his energy into Sunday’s NFC North opener against the Vikings. But he also admitted last weekend’s loss cut a little deeper and was a bit more difficult to behind him.

“Yeah, it was tough but one thing for me that I'm working on this year is once I leave the locker room is trying to be OK because it's not fair to my wife, my family and my friends for me to have an attitude the entire night when they've come miles and miles away to see us,” he said. “So, I try to just breathe, let it go, put it all in perspective and just realize that after last week, we have 13 more games, 13 more opportunities.”