The Atlanta Falcons blew a 24-7 lead to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 15. The story could have been about Tom Brady again overcoming adversity to beat the Falcons, but instead we're going to wonder what the heck happened with the spot that gave the Bucs a first down late to ice the game.
Tampa took over at the Falcons 19-yard line with 1:58 remaining and just needed a first down to run out the clock and secure a 31-27 win. Brady handed the ball to Leonard Fournette three straight times. On the third carry, Fournette was brought down just inside the 10 and appeared short of a first down. That's when the officials got involved. First the referee who spotted the ball slid it forward.
Then when officials brought out the chains, it again appeared short, but they called it a first down for Tampa. It all looks very, very questionable!
It's amazing the broadcast couldn't come up with an angle that made it look like a first down.
Had officials called this fourth down, the Bucs could have gone for it or just kicked a short field goal to go up seven points. Whatever happened, the Falcons only would have had about 30 seconds to score a touchdown, so a comeback would have been tough. But does it really matter? This looks so fishy and the fact that Brady is the one to benefit from it will not help the conspiracies.