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NFL Explains Why Clock Ran Out At End Of Lions/Saints Game

At the end of last Saturday's game between the Detroit Lions and New Orleans Saints, the clock ran out despite the fact that Drew Brees took a knee on fourth down. Because there was a change of possession, the clock should have stopped, giving the Lions the ball and time for a few more plays.

Because this odd ending didn't affect the outcome of the game, it was initially overlooked by many. I personally didn't notice the oddity until I was going through the play-by-play of the game for the recap. When I saw that the game ended on a kneel-down on fourth down, I thought it was simply a mistake in the play-by-play. It turns out that wasn't the case and the game actually did end the way the play-by-play stated.

This week, the NFL was asked about whether or not this ruling was a mistake. Already the league admitted mistakes were made on the inadvertent whistle/fumble situation from earlier in this game, but this time the NFL said the referees made the right call. Here's why:

"It was a common-sense judgment call by Tony Corrente, the referee," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told PFT via email. "After that fourth-down kneel by Brees, both teams on the field started shaking hands, both teams on the sidelines started coming on to the field. The Lions clearly had no intention of running a play. The officials would have had to clear the field and bring both teams back out for the purpose of Detroit taking a knee. It is not considered a mistake by the officials."

Obviously the Lions weren't about to score 17 points in half a minute. It just seems odd to me that the referees would bend the rules to run out the clock. I definitely understand why they let the clock run considering both teams were already on the field, and in the grand scheme of things it's not a huge deal. Then again, it is yet another sign of how questionable the officiating can be at times, and those who bet on the Lions to cover and were holding out hope for a garbage-time touchdown probably were pretty upset with what transpired.

Personally, I think the fact that the NFL had to address multiple calls from one game speaks for itself.

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