Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, admitted that the second illegal hands to the face penalty on Lions defensive lineman Trey Flowers should not have been called. It factored into the 23-22 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Monday night.
Both penalties were called on Flowers in the fourth quarter. Vincent stood behind the officials for calling the first one.
“There was one that was clear, that we support,” Vincent told reporters, referring to a prior penalty. “But there was another that when you look at it and you review the play, it’s not something that you want to see called in that particular pass rush. One you can support, but the other one, when you review it and you have seen some slow-mos, the foul wasn’t there.”
Vincent was speaking at NFL’s fall league meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The flag on that second all against Flowers came on third-and-4 and ended up extending the game-winning drive.
Vincent did not address the personal foul called on the Lions’ Tracy Walker who was clearly going for the ball, but in the process had a helmet-to-helmet hit on the receiver.
He also did not speak to the non-call on a pass interference on Marvin Jones Jr. when Packers cornerback Will Redmond draped his arm across Jones’ chest before the ball arrived.
Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell would not speak to specifics from Monday night. But he had a short answer when asked how pass interference is being called this season: “It’s not.”
As expected, Lions coach Matt Patricia did not want to discuss the officiating.
The coach said he had been in meetings all day Tuesday and had not talked to anyone from the NFL yet or heard about Vincent’s comments.
“For me obviously there were some calls in the game that everyone’s focused on right now. I’m focused on the ones we have to do right out on the field through execution and coaching and playing,’’ Patricia said in a conference call on Tuesday. “If you go through a game and you’re relying on the officials to tell you if you’ve won I don’t really think you’re going to turn out in a favorable manner more times than not.’’
He repeatedly said they have to control what they can control to give themselves a chance to win.
“The things we can control are definitely a lot of the plays out there that we know we can do a better job,’’ Patricia said.
While he’s been sequestered planning for Sunday’s home game against the Vikings, the Lions fans are in an uproar over the state of the NFL officiating and the way it always seems to work against the Lions.
“I love our fan base and I love their passion, I love all of it. I appreciate it more than you know,’’ Patricia said. “I just want the fans to know we’re going to work to get things right, do things the right way. We’re tough, we’re built tough, we’re blue collar – just like this city, just like this state. We’ll continue to be tough and in the end toughness is going to prevail. And we’re going to do everything possible to make sure that happens.’’
“I think the game is going the way of player safety and we understand that. We’ve just got to be careful, there’s a fine line. Just be careful in regards to what we’re doing,’’ defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni said on a conference call on Tuesday.
After each game, NFL teams submit questionable calls to the NFL for clarification. Patricia would not say if that number after last night is more or less than usual.
He did explain what keeps him going.
“Football is an emotional game, that’s why we love it so much,’’ Patricia said.