The dust is settling on the Detroit Lions loss to the Green Bay Packers and all that happened at the end of the game, so here are some final thoughts.
I’ve had a couple of days to digest what happened on Monday night and here are my (hopefully less angry) thoughts as the Detroit Lions let one get away. But, they also got jobbed by a few late calls that directly impacted the game against the Green Bay Packers.
First, Detroit should have capitalized on their opportunities in the red zone. If Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson holds onto the ball and the team comes away with six points instead of settling for three. There are other plays that they could have made to put more points on the board, for sure. But those aren’t why Lions fans are upset with the league and the refs. Which leads me to my second point.
Second, the refs made critical mistakes that only affected one team in a negative way in the closing moments of a close game. From what I’ve heard in the past, refs are supposed to stay out of those situations. Yet, here I am typing about this problem.
First call – This is the non-call of obvious pass interference on Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones. This is according to the wording of the rule in the NFL rule book. It is clear and obvious pass interference. Refs let it go and let them play. That was on third down and altered the extended drive for the Lions and would have put them in field goal range. That’s an egregious missed call.
Second and third calls – Illegal hands to the face … because Detroit Lions defensive lineman Trey Flowers was holding a player’s shoulder pads near his neckline. By definition, in the NFL rule book, this is NOT a foul. That’s the wording of the rule. Refs can’t throw flags for what ‘looks like’ a penalty or holding would be called on every play of every game. These fouls also came on third downs, extending the Packers drive that ended in a game-winning field goal. They were not in field goal range either time and would have punted. That, again, directly affected the outcome of the game.
It just can’t happen. It can’t. Refs can’t let them play on one end of the field and then call non-existent fouls – by NFL rule book definition! – on the other end of the field. It’s hard not to think the refs are affected by the color of the uniform. I hate even typing that, but, c’mon man!
A player (Flowers) that has never been called for hands to the face in his five years in New England comes to Detroit and gets called for it twice in one game in crucial moments. Really? He’s been doing this move his entire career and has NEVER been called for it. Probably because it is LEGAL by definition in the NFL rules.
It’s hard. As a fan of a team that just got robbed of a victory, it’s hard not to be mad and angry at the refs and the league that blindly backs them up while ignoring what’s obvious to any football fan (Packers fans excluded for obvious reasons).
It’s not right. It’s all wrong. And there is nothing fans and players can do about it other than ask it to stop or get a league apology after the fact. That apology is hollow. Lions fans have heard it before from the NFL but it keeps happening … after the fact. Fix it in-game and let the Lions get the win they should have gotten. That’s the fix. Call it right when it matters. Not later.
Now, there’s nothing to do but move on and hope this botched game doesn’t affect the playoffs. These Detroit Lions have to get ready for Minnesota on Sunday and the fans hope the team isn’t in the situation to get robbed again. Because, if the Lions get into that situation, can fans really trust the refs to call a fair game? The evidence from Monday night doesn’t support them to do so. The team just needs to put it out of reach if they hope to win.