By: Will Burchfield
The head referee for Saturday’s showdown between the Lions and the Seahawks is the same one who presided over Detroits’ ugly, penalty-laden loss to the Titans in Week 2.
Brad Allen and his crew called a whopping 29 fouls in that game, including 17 on the Lions.
But Jim Caldwell hasn’t made particular mention of Saturday’s officials to his players.
“Not any more than usual, same thing we always do. We cover what we normally do in regard to officiating. That is, our guys have to take care of their business,” Caldwell said. “That’s what you worry about. You don’t worry about officiating.
“Players make the most mistakes in a game, coaches second, officials third, so we don’t spend a whole lot of time on that.”
It bears mention that Allen will be working with an entirely different crew on Saturday, per ProFootballTalk. Still, Allen was the leader of the officiating team that called the most penalties this season — 18.4 per game.
Things got particularly out of hand in Week 2. Of the 17 flags thrown against the Lions, three negated touchdowns, including a highly-questionable offensive pass interference call on Eric Ebron.
Afterward, the Lions were stunned.
“I’ve never seen anything like that,” said Darius Slay.
“I was kind of in shock just because I couldn’t believe that we just kept getting penalty after penalty,” said Golden Tate.
Caldwell, for his part, lamented his players’ lack of awareness.
“These were technical issues, I think. A bunch of issues with a lot of different guys,” he said. “I just think that, in certain situations, guys just have to be able to understand exactly what’s being called – and (the refs) will let you know pretty early, matter of fact, even before the game.”
The Lions met up with Allen and his crew for a second time in Week 8. They were flagged eight times in that game (a 20-13 loss to the Texans), tied for their third highest total of the season.
For a team that committed just 6.3 penalties per game, it’s odd – and a bit unsettling – that they were flagged an average of 12.5 times in their two meetings with Allen.
Still, as Caldwell said prior to the Lions’ reunion with Allen in Week 8, “If we do what we’re supposed to do, we won’t have to worry about it.”