Officials missed a very obvious face masking in the final seconds of the week 14 game between the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings, and this bad call could have playoff implications. If the officials would have made the right call, the Minnesota Vikings and Joe Webb would have had another shot at winning the game with a touchdown from the 1 yard line. Instead, officials didn’t even bother to throw a flag on what was the most obvious facemask we have seen in a long time.
Joe Webb dropped back to pass, and the Lions pass rush was on him immediately just as they had been all day long. When Webb rolled left to try to avoid the rush, Lions Left End Cliff Avril grabbed his facemask and jerked his head to the side. Basically the definition of an facemask penalty… yet no flags were thrown. In an era where officials are constantly going to far in protecting quarterbacks, how was this facemask not called in the crucial final seconds of an NFL game.
Lions fans have to be breathing a sigh of relief as they escaped this game with a win. The Vikings came storming back late in the game after Joe Webb replaced Christian Ponder at quarterback. Down by only six points in the final seconds, the Vikings had the ball at Detroit’s 1 yard line, and it was looking like they were going to steal this one from the and deal a huge blow to their playoff hopes. Instead the Vikings were robbed of the chance to play spoiler and all NFL fans were robbed of seeing a legitimate finish to what was otherwise a great game.
The NFL really needs to overhaul the rules to prevent these controversial calls from ruining the integrity of the game, as well as find some way of holding officials accountable for missing easy, routine calls like this. Unfortunately under the current rules a team cannot challenge a facemask penalty, and there are no booth reviews for facemask penalties. We now have an automatic video review of every touchdown, so why is the NFL still allowing games to be ruined by bad calls like this that don’t happen on a touchdown play.
The play can be seen here. It starts about 1:15 in to the video.
Watch how hard Webb’s head gets snapped to the side by the facemask, causing the fumble. Its just pathetic and inexcusable that this call was missed in an NFL game.