DETROIT – The Lions took a hard loss to the Green Bay Packers on "Monday Night Football," and the refs have some explaining to do.
The Lions, who lead 22-13 in the fourth quarter, were on the receiving end of multiple questionable penalties that ultimately helped Green Bay keep drives alive and complete their comeback. The final score was 23-22.
Calls under scrutiny include two hands-to-the-face calls against Trey Flowers, which upon review appeared to be clean moves in both cases. Also, Tracy Walker's unnecessary roughness call, despite the lack on intent.
Here's what the referee available to pool reporters said after the game, according to ESPN's Rob Demovsky.
(On the helmet-to-helmet contact with Tracy Walker, it appeared he was going for the ball. Does the defensive back have the right to go for the ball? Does that offset any incidental helmet-to-helmet contact?)
Blakeman: "That's a good question, but the reality is, it is a strict liability for a defensive player. In this case, he may be going for the ball and not intending to hit the helmet, but when there's helmet contact, it is a foul in that situation."
(Even if he had come up with the interception, that doesn't change the ruling in any way?)
Blakeman: "Even if he did impact the helmet and then intercepted the ball, it would still have been a foul."
(On the two hands-to-the-face penalties on Detroit defensive end Trey Flowers. I don't know if you were the one who actually threw the flag there, but when discussing with the crew, what did you guys see on those calls?
Blakeman: "The umpire threw both of them. 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 of the defender, So, in his mind he had pinned him back, it was prolonged, and that's what created the foul."
(You said head or neck area?)
Blakeman: "Head or neck area, yes."
"I actually changed the position of my hand, because it was to the chest initially," Flowers said. "I was doing it all game. I didn't know that was a flag to the chest, so I changed it. And he called it again.
"I didn't think hands to the chest was a penalty. I thought hands to the face, but I had him right here in the chest. The second time I changed it. ... That's part of a move that I do. So, nah, I don't think that was a penalty."
"We got to find a way to finish," said Kenny Golladay, who had 121 yards on five catches for Detroit. "That's a big part of it right now. Find a way to finish. We left a lot of points out there. We were in the red zone quite a bit and just coming out with field goals. That's tough, especially when you've got a guy, a quarterback on the other side that you, you've got to finish."