NFL: Top official defends face-mask call against Lions
The National Football League's top official defended the face-mask call against the Detroit Lions that gave the Green Bay Packers an untimed down for Aaron Rodgers' Hail Mary touchdown pass.
The National Football League's top official defended the face-mask call against the Detroit Lions that gave the Green Bay Packers an untimed down for Aaron Rodgers’ Hail Mary touchdown pass.
Rodgers gunned a 61-yard pass to tight end Richard Rodgers on the final play to give the Packers a shocking 27-23 win over the Detroit Lions on Thursday night at Ford Field.
Before the stunning outcome, the Packers needed a big break just to have a final chance. Aaron Rodgers threw a desperation pass on the previous play. After a couple of laterals, the ball wound up in the quarterback’s hands again with no one behind him. But as Rodgers tried to run forward, Lions defensive end Devin Taylor touched his face mask, drawing a flag. That gave the Packers another play with time expired.
At full speed, it looked like a clear call as Taylor’s hand connected with Rodgers’ face mask. Upon slow-motion review, Taylor’s finger hit the face mask but it may be debatable whether he grasped or pulled the face mask.
The face-mask call gave the Packers one last untimed play - along with 15 extra yards - that resulted in Rodgers’ Hail Mary touchdown pass.
In a tweet issued immediately after the game, NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino defended the face-mask foul by saying an official “is going to make that call almost every time.”
In an appearance on NFL Network after the game, Blandino suggested that, even if replay review were available to overturn the ruling on the field, it may not have been reversed.
“It’s a close play, but even looking at the replay, the hand is up near the mask, the finger looks like it gets caught in the mask and the head gets turned,” Blandino said. “So I’m not convinced it wasn’t a face mask even looking at the replay, but live at full speed the referee is going to see that hand at the mask and the head turn and he’s going to make that call every time.”