Another blown call: NFL apologizes to Lions for missed hold
More than 48 hours after officials in the Lions-Cowboys wild-card game ignited a firestorm with their overturned pass interference call, the controversy just won’t go away.
First, President Barack Obama took his turn sounding off on the officials, expressing his sympathy for fans in Detroit. Then came the day’s big bombshell.
According to a report by ESPN's Adam Schefter, NFL officials admitted to the Detroit Lions on Tuesday that officials in that game — won 24-20 by the Cowboys — missed what the report called a “blatant hold” committed on Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh after the more controversial call.
According to the report, the hold happened on a fourth-and-6 with 6 minutes to play and Dallas trailing 20-17. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo connected with tight end Jason Witten for 21 yards to keep the drive alive, a drive which ended with an 8-yard TD pass from Romo to Terrance Williams for the game-winning score.
Had the hold been called, the Cowboys would have been left with a fourth-and-16 from their own 48, and likely would have punted the ball back to Detroit.
The game’s biggest controversy occurred on the previous drive, when Dallas linebacker Anthony Hitchens was called for pass interference against Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew, but officials then picked up the flag and declared there was no penalty on the play.
Instead of getting a first down on the penalty, Detroit was left with a fourth-and-1 on the Dallas 46. The Lions then punted and shanked it to set up the game-winning drive.
According to the ESPN report, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, who was wearing a mic for Showtime’s “Inside the NFL,” can be heard saying after the flag was picked up:
"Can we explain that or no? Just flat-out overturning a pass interference call?"
Later, Stafford reportedly yells, “Home cookin’!”