Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: The New Orleans Saints lost a home playoff game that featured some officiating controversy.
No, this isn’t a rehash of the 2019 NFC Championship Game, but that’s pretty much what happened in their Wild Card game against the Vikings.
Early in overtime, the Vikings had the ball at the 44-yard line. Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins dropped back for a pass and stepped up to avoid pressure. But as Cousins was stepping up, left tackle Riley Reiff clearly held a Saints defender by his jersey to keep him from hitting the quarterback.
No penalty flag was thrown though, and what could have been a major move backwards instead opened the door for the Vikings to keep marching.
— SportSource Analytics (@SportSourceA) January 5, 2020
But chances are it’ll be the final play off the game that gets the most attention in the days to come.
On third-and-goal from the 2-yard line, Cousins tossed a ball in the direction of tight end Kyle Rudolph. The Vikings tight end was able to nab the ball over the head of a Saints defender for a touchdown, but only after he lightly pushed the defender off with his right arm.
Such a move could have drawn an offensive pass interference call. Given that the NFL instituted a new rule in the fallout of last year’s NFC Championship Game to review potential PI calls, the officials should have at least given the play a look.
They didn’t, the play was upheld without review, and the Saints were once again sent home.
Did the referees blow the game by not calling some possible penalties?