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Lions vs. Packers: A story of horrible officiating

Aaron Rodgers seen below with his best friend in the background.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Before the inevitable comments come in here, I know. The Detroit Lions had their chances. If they score touchdowns instead of field goals, they come out of Lambeau with a win. They make one final stop, they’re 3-1-1 instead of 2-2-1. I know that. You know that. We all know that.

But let’s be honest, the officiating was horrible on Monday night, and it certainly affected this game in ways that could have turned the outcome one way or another. So let’s just break down how bad everything went for the Detroit Lions on Monday night against the Green Bay Packers.

T.J. Hockenson’s touchdown that wasn’t

I didn’t see a lot of people complaining about this one, but let me lead the charge. Hockenson pulled down a pass, but when he hit the ground, the ball jarred loose. We’ve all become accustomed to believing that’s an incomplete pass, but the going to the ground rule was changed. The Calvin Johnson process of the catch doesn’t matter. You need three things to complete a catch.

  1. Secure possession
  2. Two feet in bounds
  3. An “act common to the game” ie: tucking the ball away

Take a look:

I see all three phases completed here. But nope, incomplete. There’s a four point swing right there.

Tracy Walker unnecessary roughness

This is a tough one. By the rule, this is probably correct. Tracy Walker initiates contact to the head on a player in a defenseless position. You could argue about the word “initiates” since Walker appears to be playing the ball, but either way, this shouldn’t be a penalty on Walker. It’s an impossible task to ask him to do anything else than what he did on this play. Green Bay would score three on this drive.

Illegal hands to the face #1

The Lions, up nine with less than 12 minutes left in the game, seemed to have forced a Green Bay punt with a big sack from Kevin Strong. But there was a flag on the play: Illegal Hands to the Face on Trey Flowers.

You be the judge:

At first glance, it doesn’t appear Flowers gets the head at all, but one screenshot suggests it slipped up at the very last second:

A few plays later Aaron Rodgers would connect on a 35-yard touchdown. From zero points to seven. Killer.

Pass interference no-call

The Lions now only up two points had a chance to extend the lead back to two scores. Matthew Stafford looked for Marvin Jones on a deep ball that would have—at the very least—put Detroit in field goal position. Will Redmond was in coverage and appeared to be all over Jones:

No call. The Lions don’t challenge. They drop the ball on the next play, punt the ball afterwards and never get it back again.

Illegal hands to the face #2

Detroit had gotten a key stop in the final two minutes of the game. Green Bay was already in field goal territory, but Detroit would have gotten the ball back with around 1:30 to try and win the game down just a point.

That opportunity never came because of an unbelievable second hand-to-the-face penalty that never appeared to happen.

The penalty would give the Packers all the time they needed to run out the clock and kick a chip-shot field goal for the win.

Another Packers-Lions game marred in controversy. Unbelievable.

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