Dean Blandino, the head of officiating for the NFL, said game officials ruled incorrectly when they didn't flag Seattle's K.J. Wright for intentionally batting the ball out of the end zone, late in the game between Detroit and Seattle.
"K.J. Wright batted the football, that is a foul for an illegal bat," Blandino said after the game.
The play in question happened with less than two minutes to play in the fourth quarter. Calvin Johnson fumbled at the 1-yard line as he was trying to score a touchdown. Wright appeared to be in position to recover the fumble fairly easily, but instead nudged it out of the back of the end zone. The play was ruled a fumble and a touchback, giving the ball to Seattle who ran out the rest of the clock.
Had the play been flagged as an illegal bat, Blandino said Detroit would have been given the ball at the spot of the foul, then the flag would have been marked off as half the distance from the goal. That means the Lions would have had the ball at the one-half yard line with a chance to score the go-ahead touchdown.
Blandino said the reason the flag wasn't thrown was because in the judgement of the back judge, he didn't think the bat was a "overt act" although Blandino said on replay it did look like a bat. That aspect of the play is not reviewable.
Here are Blandino's full comments.
NFL VP of Officiating Dean Blandino comments on the Lions-Seahawks ending. http://t.co/BO90lIlUl8— NFL (@NFL) October 6, 2015