The NFL is trying to pick up the pieces after another game was decided by questionable officiating. NFL vice president of operations Troy Vincent said Tuesday that the second hands to the face penalty on the Detroit Lions — the one that set up the game-winning field goal for Mason Crosby — should not have been called by the refs Monday night.
Vincent made that comment at the fall league meeting in Florida on Tuesday.
The play in question occurred with 1:45 left in the game. The Green Bay Packers — who were trailing by 2 points — were already in field goal range, but were trying to pick up a first down so they could run out the clock and kick the ball at the last second. The Packers went for it on 3rd and 4 from the 16-yard line, but couldn’t convert. It looked as though the Lions would have a little over a minute for one final drive.
That never happened. The refs threw a flag on Lions defensive end Trey Flowers for hands to the face. The penalty gave the Packers a first down, and allowed the team to run the clock down to 2 seconds before Crosby hit the game-winning field goal to give the Packers the 23-22 win.
Problem was, there was actually no penalty on the play. Replays showed Flowers had the Packers’ offensive lineman by the shoulder, not the neck or face. ESPN commentator Booger McGarland was furious about the call, pointing out that the refs got it wrong multiple times in the closing moments of the game.
After reviewing the play, Vincent agreed. Vincent said he planned to speak to Lions owner Martha Ford and general manager Bob Quinn about the call.
It’s unclear whether the league is going to do anything about that. Lions fans can appreciate Vincent admitting the play shouldn’t have been a penalty, but that’s not going to alter the result of Monday night’s game.
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