clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The NFL says the Lions didn't get screwed

New, comments

Head of officiating Dean Blandino defended close calls on the final plays of a controversial finish on Thursday night.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

A questionable facemask penalty on the Detroit Lions gave the Green Bay Packers an untimed down that was used to connect on a game-winning Hail Mary. While replay appeared to show that Devin Taylor's hand only slightly grazed Aaron Rodgers' facemask, it wasn't a play that can be reviewed by officials.

But even if it had, NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino says it likely wouldn't have mattered. Even after seeing replays himself, Blandino isn't sure the wrong call was made.

"It's a close play, but even looking at the replay, the hand is up near the mask, the finger looks like it gets caught in the mask and the head gets turned," Blandino said on NFL Network on Friday morning. "So I'm not convinced it wasn't a facemask even looking at the replay, but live at full speed the referee is going to see that hand at the mask and the head turn and he's going to make that call every time.

"I think when you watch the play live I was just like everybody else. You thought, "That's a facemask" and then you see the replay and it's a lot closer than it initially seemed."

"It was a facemask," Rodgers said after the game. "I was looking for the flag afterwards. I don't really flop any calls or anything, that was a legit facemask."

Blandino and Roger Goodell have come to the defense of officials, who are receiving plenty of criticism for their performance in the 2015 season. Goodell said on Wednesday that NFL officials "do an extraordinary job" and Blandino said the "mistake rate isn't any different than it's been in years past."

During his appearance on NFL Network, Blandino also defended the officials' decision not to throw a flag on the play just before the facemask. Despite plenty of contact, no pass interference was called on a contested throw that could have gone either way.

"I saw the defender playing the ball," Blandino said. "He got his head turned around, there was a collision. I want to look at the rest of the coach's copy, but from what I saw, it looked like a good no-call. The defender turned, was playing the ball, the receiver slowed down and there was a collision, but when both players are playing the ball that's not pass interference."

The touchdown gave the Packers a 27-23 win and improved the team's record to 8-4, while the Lions dropped to 4-8.

* * *

SB Nation presents: The NFL needs to tell us what a catch is