NFL: Refs erred on critical Lions penalty vs. Packers

The NFL admitted Tuesday that officials made a mistake by penalizing Detroit Lions defensive end Trey Flowers for a second hands-to-the-face infraction on Monday night, before the Green Bay Packers went on to kick a field goal for a 23-22 victory as time expired.During a news conference at the league’s fall meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent addressed the situation, adding that it was discussed at a Tuesday meeting with the competition committee.”There was one that was clear that we support,” Vincent said regarding the first of two penalties called against Flowers as he went up against the Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari. “And there was the other, when you look at it, when you review the play, not something that you want to see called, in particular on the pass rush. One that you can support, but the other one — clearly after you review it, you’ve seen some slo-mos — the foul wasn’t there.”Vincent said he expected to meet with Lions owner Martha Ford and general manager Bob Quinn before the fall meeting concludes Wednesday.Referee Clete Blakeman gave an explanation in his pool report about the controversial calls, both made by umpire Jeff Rice.”The umpire threw both of them,” Blakeman said. “The last one was really the only one I’ve discussed with him. Basically, it’s for illegal use of the hands, hands-to-the-face foul. To be a foul, we basically need some forceful contact that’s prolonged to the head and neck area. … So in his mind he had pinned him back, it was prolonged, and that’s what created the foul.”The third-down penalties extended two fourth-quarter drives by the Packers, who went on to throw a touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Allen Lazard with 9:03 left, then kick the winning 23-yard field goal by Mason Crosby on the game’s final play.Flowers disagreed with both calls, saying he was gripping Bakhtiari’s chest plate.

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