In one of the few meaningless games of Week 17, the Detroit Lions welcomed in the Minnesota Vikings to Ford Field for an NFC North battle.
What resulted in Detroit was a shootout. Matthew Stafford and Kirk Cousins traded touchdowns all Sunday long making for quite the regular season finale.
Unfortunately, a portion of the game was marred by one bad officiating call.
Early in the fourth quarter, on a Vikings 4th and Goal, Lions defensive back Tracy Walker broke through the offensive line with a free rush at Kirk Cousins. He brought down the Vikings quarterback cleanly for a sack, but penalty flags flew. Officials called Walker for roughing the passer and Minnesota got a free first down. They scored soon after.
ESPN personality Mike Greenberg took to Twitter to express his disgust at the call. Plenty of other media members joined him.
"I’ve seen a lot of terrible roughing the passer calls but the one on the Lions just now may have been the worst," Greenberg
I’ve seen a lot of terrible roughing the passer calls but the one on the #Lions just now may have been the worst.
— Mike Greenberg (@Espngreeny) January 3, 2021
">tweeted on Sunday afternoon.
It's hard to disagree. The NFL has cracked down on hard hits against the quarterback over the years, but it's difficult to find a flaw with Walker's. It's especially disappointing that the penalty directly led to points for the Vikings.
Later on in the game, another controversial call overturned a Lions touchdown. Officials ruled a Marvin Jones Jr. catch
Lions roughing the passer now trumped by this being called a TD on the field then over turned pic.twitter.com/5m1zRxf5oN
— Todd Fuhrman (@ToddFuhrman) January 3, 2021
">to be incomplete. The ball shifted as Jones Jr. went to the ground, but it never looked to clearly touch the ground.
The Lions still stayed in the game, despite the officiating. At the two-minute warning, Detroit trailed Minnesota by just two points. However, Cousins and the Vikings offense played too well down the stretch, leaving the Lions with their 11th loss of the year. Minnesota went on to win 37-35.