Golden Tate set up the game-winning field goal in the Lions' 24-23 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday with a 27-yard catch on a 3rd and 4 play down to the Eagles 12-yard line with just two minutes left in the game.
The play is a perfect example of how anticipation and playmaking ability can sometimes trump a play call.
"Little deeper than I expected him to be," Stafford said of Tate's route, which initially took him all the way across the field on a crossing route. "But I was kind of waiting and waiting, waiting for him to kind of show up a little bit of a crossing route.
"He got through some traffic, I saw 53 (linebacker Nigel Bradham) at the last second, you know, just bailing getting a little bit of depth. I threw it where I thought it was going to be a good spot."
That's a part of his game Stafford doesn't get enough credit for. His ability to keep plays alive and be a pretty darn good anticipatory passer, as head coach Jim Caldwell called him after the game.
"It was, perhaps, one of the better anticipatory passes that you'll ever see," Caldwell said of the play. "He (Stafford) laid that thing out there in front of him (Tate) and Golden was able to run right through the catch point and did a very, very nice job."
It was a playground-style connection that just might have saved the Lions season.
"It was supposed to be a four-to-six crossing route," Tate said of the play. "I have no clue how I ended up like 15 yards catching the ball, so can't wait to see the play."
Stafford can't wait to see it too. He was hit after letting the ball go and never saw it.
"Didn't see the rest, but I'll see it on Monday," he said with a smile.
The Lions could have used a clean game from an injury standpoint Sunday after already missing Ziggy Ansah, DeAndre Levy, Eric Ebron and Dwayne Washington.
No such luck.
Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata injured his shoulder in the third quarter and did not return.
The team also lost starting slot cornerback Quandre Diggs late in the fourth quarter to an undisclosed injury that kept him out of the rest of the game.
"Yeah, we had people go down left and right, but you know, our team is resilient," defensive end Devin Taylor said. "It's one of the things that Coach Caldwell tells us, you know, is to keep fighting no matter who's in, whoever goes down.
"That's why we have so many people that get reps in practice and everything because it allows us in game situations like this to just everyone keep playing no matter what."
The Ngata and Diggs injuries will have to be monitored throughout the week.
GETTING SOME RUN
Caldwell said after the game that it was his plan throughout the week to get rookie center/guard Graham Glasgow and veteran cornerback Johnson Bademosi some run in the game.
Glasgow played in place of starter Laken Tomlinson at left guard for a few series, and Bademosi did the same for Nevin Lawson.
Tomlinson and Lawson have struggled with consistency early on this season.
"We had talked about it and decided to do it earlier in the week," Caldwell said, when asked specifically about Glasgow after the game.
"We wanted to get the young guy a little bit of the opportunity. We wanted to get his feet wet a little bit, so we put him in and out."
Marvin Jones Jr. entered Sunday's game needing just 18 yards to reach 500 receiving through the Lions' first five games, a mark only Herman Moore (1996) and Calvin Johnson (2012) had reached before him in franchise history.
Jones caught four passes for 37 yards and a touchdown against the Eagles. It gives him 27 receptions for 519 yards and three scores through the team's first five contests.