Sunday’s matchup between the Detroit Lions and the Los Angeles Rams featured a controversial penalty against the Lions that most fans watching the game heavily disagreed with.
The call came at a pretty crucial point in the game. The Lions found themselves in Rams territory with just over a minute remaining in the second quarter.
It was fourth down with only five yards to pick up to keep their drive alive. And as Lions head coach Dan Campbell has done so many times before this year, he opted to leave his offense on the field to attempt to pick up the first down or potentially force the Rams to jump offsides to force a first down.
It looked like Campbell got his wish, as Rams linebacker Dremont Jones appeared to cross the line of scrimmage before the snap. A Lions offensive lineman quickly reacted to his movement to catch him in the neutral zone.
To the dismay of Lions fans, instead of this being called a neutral zone infraction, the officials found the Lions guilty of a false start. This forced the Lions to reconsider their decision and instead punt the ball back to the Rams.
"It sure looks to me, Cris, that the defense jumped before the offense moved. It should have been a neutral zone infraction."
Terry McAulay disagrees with the controversial false start call, that cost the Lions a first down. pic.twitter.com/lAxHLZqWLn
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) January 15, 2024
When you look at the replay, it seemed to be pretty clear that Jones was the first one to jump over the line of scrimmage. Naturally, fans took to social media to offer their frustrations with the call.
how is this a false start??? pic.twitter.com/Z3qsDPUswd
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) January 15, 2024
Calling this a false start on the Lions is just a flat out miss pic.twitter.com/GINAOp0SY9
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) January 15, 2024
absolutely insane call to change momentum of the game. pic.twitter.com/gDzuNKACTR
— Gavin McHugh (@gavinmchughh) January 15, 2024
Being able to properly call an offsides vs. a false start should not be too much to ask.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) January 15, 2024
That was not a false start
— Gump Cathcart (@bubbagumpino) January 15, 2024
It goes without saying that nobody truly knows what the Lions could have done on the rest of the drive if this were instead properly called a neutral zone infraction on the Rams.
However, given their positioning in Rams territory, it is pretty fair to say that they had a good chance to add to their lead heading into halftime. Instead, the Rams were able to get into the half facing only a four-point deficit. It also didn’t end up having an impact on the game’s result, as the Lions still won.
Regardless of how you feel about either team, this call was undoubtedly a turning point in this game, costing the Lions a clear scoring chance here on a call that is considered generous by even the most biased Rams fans out there.
[Awful Announcing on Twitter/X, Photo Credit: NBC]