The Detroit Lions had a victory snatched from them on Saturday night against the Dallas Cowboys. Left tackle Taylor Decker was ruled ineligible on what should have been the winning two-point conversion pass to him, as referee Brad Allen incorrectly said (and stuck to) that extra offensive lineman Dan Skipper reported as eligible and Decker did not.
There's plenty of video evidence to show Decker went right over to Allen and reported as an eligible receiver. All the key players on the Lions' side say Skipper did not report as eligible while Decker did, and Jared Goff was also shown telling Decker to go report when the play call came in.
The NFL world is going all in on Allen, and rightfully so.
On Sunday morning's "NFL Countdown" on ESPN, former NFL coach Rex Ryan used his platform to offer pointed criticism.
"The players did exactly what they were supposed to do. Every one of them. Right from Jared Goff going over and telling Decker, ‘Go report.’ He went right over there and reported, with that nod of the official. I think the official assumed 70 (Dan Skipper) was, because he was reporting all day. That’s a plan, by the way.
Ryan confirmed what Dan Campbell said about having laid out the trick play scenario with the officials before the game.
Where Dan Campbell failed is that he assumed that the official would’ve got it right. Why? Because he went over it, specifically, with him before the game," said Ryan. "That’s what you do. The officials come in, you go over every trick play scenario and all that stuff with the officials before the game.”
After the game, ESPN rules analyst John Parry pointed toward Decker carrying responsibility for not undeniably reporting as eligible. While there's a root of truth there, Decker seemingly did what he had to do. Ryan acknowledged seeing it differently than Parry, then pointed right back to Allen not owning the mistake.
This is a huge mistake. But the thing that bothers me the most is that we’re putting blame on the players. Stop," Ryan said. "The players did everything right. So quit blaming, quit covering somebody’s butt and tell it the way it is. Be a man and take responsibility.
Say what you might about Ryan as an analyst sometimes, for whatever reasons you might say it. But he nailed it here, from the perspective of a coach to pull no punches and call out the awful call by Allen on Saturday night and Allen's unwillingness to just say he messed up. Not that it would make it any better for Lions' fans, but it would have been nice to at least see Allen take responsibility instead of double-down when asked about it in the pool report.
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