Refs Respond to Possible Clock Error Leading to Lions Last-Minute Loss

Scott Novak NFL

Getty Referee Scott Novak during a game in 2021.

The Detroit Lions lost a heartbreaker of a Week 3 game against the Baltimore Ravens, and the argument is circulating that Justin Tucker should have had to attempt a much more improbable field goal to win the game at the end.

A potential missed delay of game penalty on the play before the final kick would have allowed the Ravens to attempt the 71-yard field goal instead of a 66-yard field goal. Those yards could have made all the difference in the end to the Lions.

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So what did the referees say for themselves after the game? Not much, other than to say they weren’t sure if there should have been a penalty called. According to Chris Burke of The Athletic, referee Scott Novak said in the pool report after the game he did not know if there was a missed call.

Justin Rogers of the Detroit News spoke with Novak on the phone, who also admitted his confidence in the back judge having the time right on the field.

Regardless of what is said, it’s clear something is going to have to be looked into on the play because the Lions feel like they were badly robbed with the benefit of hindsight.

For now, though, the referees are standing behind what played out on the field.


Dan Campbell Expects Apologies From NFL

After the game was over, Lions head coach Dan Campbell spoke to reporters and admitted there wasn’t much he felt as if he could do to make things better.

As he said, he believes the Lions will get an apology, but naturally, it will be too little, too late and a hollow apology from the league.


Detroit Lions vs. Baltimore Ravens | Dan Campbell postgame press conferenceWatch Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell meet the media following the team's game against the Baltimore Ravens Sept. 26, 2021. Subscribe to the Lions YT Channel: bit.ly/2OABzdx More Lions NFL Action: bit.ly/2oxtfjX #DetroitLions #Lions #NFL Keep up-to-date on all things Lions: Visit detroitlions.com/ Follow: twitter.com/Lions Follow: instagram.com/detroitlionsnfl/ Like: facebook.com/DetroitLions2021-09-26T20:46:28Z

“It’s the same thing, tomorrow you’ll get an apology and it doesn’t mean anything. That’s life. That’s the hand we were dealt and we still had an opportunity. That was fourth and a long way to go and we give it up,” Campbell told reporters during his postgame press conference.

It’s true that the Lions had a chance to make a stop, but regardless of that, it would be a disappointing occurrence if an error helped along another defeat.


Internet Claims Lions ‘Screwed’ By Officials During Loss

Before Justin Tucker booted his 66-yard field goal, which only cleared with the help of a light kiss off the bottom crossbar, a penalty was apparently missed which would have significantly altered the outcome of the game. A look at some tape shows the game clock potentially expiring well ahead of the play.

Here’s a look at how things played out:

As a result of that, many of the more astute folks on the internet including ESPN’s Mike Greenberg pointed out that the Lions should have seen a five-yard delay of game penalty go in their favor late. As a result, they may have been screwed in the end.

Here’s another look at the play clock apparently expiring in real-time on the graphic:

It is possible the game clock live and on television was not synched up, but it seems as if this would be a drastic error if that were the case. Either way, someone is going to have to answer for what happened, because it sure seems a mistake from the referees as many are pointing out.

We’ll see if anything comes of this later.

READ NEXT: Why It Might Be Hard for Lions to Trade Jamie Collins


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