By CJ Carlson
The Detroit Lions were able to score themselves a touchdown late in the game against the Dallas Cowboys to bring the score up to 20-19. They trailed by one with seconds remaining and opted to go for a two-pointer to win the game right there. They converted on that two-point attempt, but it was called back due to a very confusing referee decision. Detroit later took two more shots at the end zone but neither connected, virtually ending the game for the Lions.
The first attempt was a beautiful play-action pass that went to a wide-open Taylor Decker, an offensive lineman. He slowly slinked off the line to catch what would have been a game-winning pass. Instead, the officials got together and whistled him for illegal touching. To the dismay of the entire Lions sideline, no amount of arguing was enough to change their minds on that call.
It was believed that Decker simply didn’t check in with the referee to declare himself as an eligible receiver ahead of the play. At least, that’s what people assumed when he was called for a penalty. After the game ended though, multiple videos showed that Decker did speak to an official before the play. Quarterback Jared Goff in particular was seen directing Decker to a referee while they were in the huddle. Weirdly enough, Dan Skipper, the lineman who was next to Decker, was able to declare himself as eligible.
The Detroit Lions Didn’t Agree With The Explanation Given
Referee Brad Allen made sure to stick with the claim that Decker just didn’t report that he was eligible. Apparently, the rest of the Lions didn’t receive a similar explanation considering that Decker did speak to Allen before the play began. Head coach Dan Campbell couldn’t even discuss it after the game, saying, “I don’t want to talk about it, alright? I explained everything pregame to a tee. Ok? I did that. 70 reported, 68 didn’t.
We threw it to 68. That was the explanation.” Reporters quickly caught up with Decker himself afterwards as well, with him saying, “They didn’t tell me anything after the play. I mean all I really want to say on it, just so I don’t get myself into trouble is, I mean, I did exactly what coach told me to do, and went to the ref, said, report.”
Even Goff himself said that he didn’t understand what went wrong. He said that he was very confused over the penalty and the explanation that followed the penalty. He also stated, “I don’t know if I’ve had this feeling before where you feel like you won but you didn’t.” And while that’s exactly what happened here, one can’t forget that Goff was on the other side of a call that was just as critical.
He was the quarterback of the Los Angeles Rams when they beat the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship game. A game that got completely altered due to a horrendous pass interference penalty going uncalled. It ironically comes full circle for Goff, but luckily the stakes weren’t nearly as high.
Detroit is definitely going to have to shake this loss off. The playoffs are nearing and their chances of getting a higher seed are still in effect even if they took a hit here. Either way, Detroit fans are going to be thankful to have won their division in the first place.