The fallout from the controversial non-call on the play pictured above continues.
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Many members of the Detroit Lions were angered by the non-call on what many believe should have been pass interference on a critical fourth quarter drive in the NFC playoffs.
With 12:16 left in the fourth quarter of the Detroit Lions 24-20 playoff loss to the Cowboys, referee Pete Morelli announced that Cowboys rookie LB Anthony Hitchens had pass interfered with Lions TE Brandon Pettigrew on a 3rd-and-1 attempt by QB Matthew Stafford.
But Morelli then decided that no foul had occurred and picked up the flag, making it 4th-and-1 – the following play the Lions punter shanked the kick, going only 10 yards, and on the ensuing drive the Cowboys scored a lead-changing TD that eventually sealed their 24-20 win.
“I thought it was a penalty,” Stafford said after the game, acknowledging that the non-call shifted the tone of the game while conceding: “… It’s their decision. I don’t have to understand it.”
WR Golden Tate pointed to a Lions offense that could have done more down the stretch, telling FOX after the loss, “We never should have been in that position.”
But the most explosive remarks came from the TE in question, Brandon Pettigrew, who took said to NFL media:
Lions TE Brandon Pettigrew on the call: “I didn’t get an explanation. It was ridiculous. … He ran through me.”
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 5, 2015
Lions coach Jim Caldwell told reporters that he “didn’t get a good enough” explanation on the picked-up flag, but refused to blame the loss on the officials.
“I don’t ever really think it comes down to one call,” Caldwell said.
Perhaps the play wouldn’t have affected the eventual outcome of the game, but it certainly had a big impact and resulted in an incredible momentum shift.