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NFL Admits Clock Mistake Occurred Toward End Of Lions/Rams Game

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The replacement officials did not have a very good first week of the 2012 NFL season. In some games they weren't too noticeable, and I actually thought they did a pretty good job in the Detroit Lions' season opener against the St. Louis Rams. There weren't any noticeable calls to me that were all that bad, although the same couldn't be said for several other games on Sunday.

As it turns out, there actually was a pretty big error in the Lions' game, and it benefited the home team. Yes, a bad call actually went in the Lions' favor. It wasn't necessarily an error by the replacement officials, as the clock operator was the one who goofed, but the officials probably should have noticed and corrected the error. Via NFL.com, here's a recap of what happened:

"It was a mistake by the clock operator," Aiello wrote in an email to NFL.com and NFL Network. "He stopped the clock incorrectly. The officials did not signal for it to stop. The game clock was three seconds behind where it should have been. The play was over at 2:39, and the 40-second clock was running at that point but the game clock stopped incorrectly for a few seconds."

This turned out to be a pretty big mistake since the Lions basically ended up with an extra timeout out of the deal. Instead of the clock running down to the two-minute warning after Sam Bradford's slide, the Rams had to run one more play before the two-minute warning. (By the way, since Bradford started his slide inbounds, he wasn't considered out of bounds.) In turn, the Lions didn't have to use a timeout after third down. The Rams decided to pass the ball and threw an incompletion anyway, but had it been after the two-minute warning, Jeff Fisher likely would have run the ball, forcing the Lions to use another timeout.

Of course, the Lions could have won the game even if this mistake didn't happen. We obviously don't know what the outcome would have been, but I will say this: It's nice to be on the beneficial side of a bad call for a change.

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