Only the Detroit Lions can get royally fucked by the refs in a game they don’t even play.
Thanks, in part, to missteps by NFL officials in the Seattle Seahawks-Los Angeles Rams game, the Lions’ playoff hopes last week were dashed ahead of the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Sunday. Night Football.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that some in the NFL think the “Lions should be furious” over several pro-Seahawks calls in a game Seattle won in overtime, 19-16, to prevent Dan Campbell and Co. from participating in the playoffs.
“Several executives and coaches have said the NFL needs to re-evaluate how it selects and trains its officiating staff for future seasons,” Schefter wrote Friday night. “…Even the NFL Competition Committee is aware of what a source told ESPN ‘was the worst refereed game of the year.’
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The committee, a group of coaches and league executives who review officiating rules and practices each offseason, were frustrated with the Seattle-LA game, as were the Lions and Rams, Schefter reports.
“A source told ESPN this week that the NFL needs to do a better job of selecting, hiring and training its officials,” he said, “the league can’t have games in which Teams’ seasons hang in the balance and have questionable and hard-hitting calls like those in the Rams-Seahawks game in Week 18.”
To recap, the Lions needed a loss to the Seahawks on Sunday and a win over the Green Bay Packers to clinch the seventh and final spot in the NFC playoffs. (The Packers could have clinched a berth with a win regardless of the Seahawks’ outcome.) Seattle played Sunday afternoon while Detroit played the night, meaning the Lions knew the outcome of that game when they entered the field.
Despite knowing of the Seahawks’ victory, which eliminated the Lions, Campbell’s crew sent the Packers on the road and prevented their rival from advancing to the playoffs.
But how bad was the refereeing in Seattle? To be fair, Lions fans are used to complaining about the referees – they did so overcoming questionable calls during the Packers game – so that’s nothing new, right?
– A run penalty in the kicker on LA with 8:47 left in the fourth quarter should not have been called. Flagged player Rams was pushed into Seahawks punter Michael Dickson, meaning the flag should have been picked up. The Seahawks were trailing by threes at the time, and instead of throwing to the Rams from their own 21, they held onto possession and then tied it at 16 with just over 2 minutes left.
–Later in the quarter, tied at 16, Rams corner Jalen Ramsey was called for an unnecessary roughing offense on Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith that would send Dick Lane shivering in disbelief. Not only may the officials have erred throwing the flag in the first place (it appears Ramsey was pushed out of bounds at the same time Smith ran out of bounds, causing the two to collide), but the Seahawks DK Metcalf were seen sticking their finger inside Ramsey’s face mask after the game which should have resulted in a penalty. The “unnecessary roughness” pushed Seattle into marginal field goal territory with less than a minute left, but kicker Jason Myers ultimately missed a 46-yard field goal attempt.
– In overtime, Smith probably should have been flagged for intentional grounding. His forced pass with 9:26 fell 10 yards from any other Seahawks player.
– The latest blunder included a former Lions draft pick: Seahawks defensive back Quandre Diggs taunted an opponent after knocking out Rams quarterback Baker Mayfield with about 8½ minutes left. Replays showed Diggs pointing to the Rams’ Bobby Wagner, a former Seattle teammate. Had it been flagged, Seattle’s ride would have started at its own 21 instead of its own 36; that possession ended with Myers throwing the game-winning field goal from 32 yards.
That being said, none of these calls led directly at the tips; the Rams had more chances to stop the Seahawks after the questionable first flag, but let that final fourth-quarter practice drag on for five more minutes of playing time. Mayfield and the Rams also won only only one first down in the fourth quarter and overtime.
A source told Schefter the league needed a way to “mitigate” such mistakes in a critical game, but no solution was offered in Friday’s story. The Lions — thanks in large part to a top-10 offense and a young, improving defense — ended a surprising season winning eight of their last 10 games to finish 9-8, 5-1 in the NFC North.
But now Detroit fans are left with this quote as they watch this weekend’s playoff games, including Saturday’s Seahawks game against the San Francisco 49ers:
“The Lions should be livid,” a source told ESPN. “It was a horrible way for them to end their season.”