We regret to inform you that the NFL referees are at it again. Monday night’s Packers-Lions game was a highly competitive battle with big NFC and NFC North ramifications (Green Bay entered at 4-1, Detroit entered at 2-1-1), and unfortunately officiating had to get in the way in key moments down the stretch.

That ended up being good news for the Packers, at least. Green Bay came away with a 23-22 victory on a walk-off, chip-shot field goal from Mason Crosby.

Credit the Packers for erasing a 13-0 deficit, and credit Aaron Rodgers for making ridiculous throws like this 35-yard touchdown pass to Allen Lazard:

But the Packers were gifted two “illegal hands to the face” calls against Detroit defensive end Trey Flowers in the fourth quarter. They were awful, phantom calls, and both came at crucial times in the fourth quarter.

The first penalty against Flowers came when Rodgers was sacked on 3rd-and-10 at the Green Bay 44 with just over 10 minutes remaining. If the penalty had not been called, the Packers (quite likely) would’ve been punting. Instead, they were given an automatic first down, and three plays later, Rodgers made the aforementioned touchdown pass to Lazard.

With under two minutes remaining, the Packers were in in field goal range at the 16-yard line, but the Lions at least were set to get the ball back after Rodgers threw an incompletion on 3rd-and-4. But again, Flowers was called illegal hands to the face, giving — or, gifting — the Packers a first down. The Lions were out of timeouts, and the Packers were able to run the clock down to set up Crosby’s game-winning field goal as time expired.

Just about anybody watching the game had the same reaction.

And again, it’s particularly awful with this being a very meaningful game. The Lions move to last place in the NFC North with the loss, and would’ve been in first place with a win.

This is unacceptable from NFL officiating, and expect a half-assed response from the league. And the Lions aren’t going to be happy with any response after they were possibly screwed out of a huge victory.


About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

He can be followed on Twitter at @Matt2Clapp (also @TheBlogfines for Cubs/MLB tweets and @DaBearNecess for Bears/NFL tweets), and can be reached by email at mclapp@thecomeback.com.