By Ashley Dunkak
DETROIT (CBS DETROIT) – In a recap of the weekend’s games, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King pointed out what he considers four blown calls by NFL referees. Two of the four calls – listed in the number one and number two spots on King’s list – occurred in Sunday’s snow-addled game between Detroit and Philadelphia.
Both calls occurred on the Eagles’ first drive of the fourth quarter, which ultimately ended with Philadelphia tying the game at 14. The Eagles, of course, went on to score 28 points in the fourth and win 34-20.
The first call in question happened when Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley got flagged for roughing Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, “an invented call for which [Ed Hochuli] certainly will be downgraded by the league office,” King writes. Fairley did not use his helmet or hit Foles high, and he did not throw him to the ground or fall on him.
The result of the play would have been a 3rd and 10 without the foul, but because of it the Eagles had a first down at the Detroit 40-yard line, and two plays later running back LeSean McCoy burst 40 yards for a touchdown.
The other penalty that cost the Lions later that drive was a holding call by umpire Richard Hall against Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. The Lions had stopped Philadelphia once, but on the retry, the Eagles tied up the game.
“A hold never happened,” King writes of the penalty. “A hold was not close. Hall invented it … A total, absolute gift of two points.”
King was hardly the only one to notice the questionable calls. When reporters asked Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy about the penalties, Levy said they had an effect but should not have had as much of an impact as they did.
“Obviously that hurt us big, but that’s a part of the game,” Levy said. “We’ve got to keep playing. If we give up 15 yards, we’ve got to keep playing. We’ve got to respond whatever the case is, and I don’t think we did a good job of doing that.”
The Lions offense accounted for seven fumbles (two by Joique Bell, five by Matthew Stafford), and the defense allowed 28 points in the fourth quarter, so blaming the referees for the loss would be asinine. That being said, the duo of calls against Detroit’s most notorious bad guys in Suh and Fairley certainly seemed to start the turn of the tide.