For yet another Detroit Lions playoff game, the officiating became a big talking point before, during and after the game. The last time the Lions were in the playoffs, a reversed pass interference call marred the finish of their loss to the Cowboys. On Saturday, there were a handful of calls that drew the ire of both the Lions and their fans.
First and foremost was the officials missing a clear facemask on Tavon Wilson as he tried to defend Seahawks receiver Paul Richardson. Per NBC’s Michelle Tafoya, Jim Caldwell said the refs copped to their mistake. However, lead official Brad Allen said differently after the game:
Brad Allen says no one from the staff apologized to Caldwell, per pool report. Not sure where NBC got that— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) January 8, 2017
Regardless of whether they received an apology or not, it’s obvious the Lions weren’t happy with the overall officiating. “Some of those calls were tough,” Golden Tate said after the game. Anquan Boldin, who was flagged for two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, copped to losing his cool for the first infraction, but didn’t understand the second call.
T.J. Jones was also victim to a strange officiating moment. In the second half, Jones was targeted deep by Matthew Stafford and was hauled down by a defender. An official pulled a flag out of his pocket, but never threw it. The officials then explained that the ball was deemed uncatchable, therefore there could be no pass interference.
If this isn't interference or at least defensive holding, let's stop playing football pic.twitter.com/VExfR5132A— Isaac (@WorldofIsaac) January 8, 2017
Many fans and analysts on Twitter disagreed. So did Jones, as he admitted after the game. “It was very catchable,” Jones said to a group of reporters after the loss.
Other Lions players simply expressed their overall displeasure for the officiating online. Take cornerback Quandre Diggs, who watched his team helplessly lose after being placed on injured reserve a few weeks ago:
we get no calls.— Quandre Diggs (@qdiggs6) January 8, 2017
nada— Quandre Diggs (@qdiggs6) January 8, 2017
nothing— Quandre Diggs (@qdiggs6) January 8, 2017
zero— Quandre Diggs (@qdiggs6) January 8, 2017
Or former Lions James Ihedigbo:
The Lions do not get calls in the playoffs I thought we established that in Dallas! https://t.co/BKzhQTzweJ— DIGGZ32 (@JamesIhedigbo) January 8, 2017
Overall, though, it seems the Lions team has accepted that it will not get any help from the officials.
Darius Slay: "We never get calls, but we try to play through it." pic.twitter.com/erTcgLi6eg— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) January 8, 2017
Lions CB Darius Slay on the officiating: “Oh, they were terrible. They terrible. But it’s a game, so."— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) January 8, 2017
Anquan Boldin said #Lions expected bad calls. "Anytime you come in a place like this, you know you have to play more than just the team."— Nate Atkins (@NateAtkins_) January 8, 2017
Still, plenty of players admitted that officiating was not the sole reason they lost to the Seahawks on Saturday. Darius Slay, who was probably the officials’ biggest critic after the game, admitted refs didn’t take the game from Detroit. Still, their displeasure speaks loudly for a team whose season ended on another sour note.