Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis criticized officials following his team’s 34–31 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday night, calling a penalty on the penultimate play of the game that set up Arizona's winning field goal a “phantom call.”
As the Cardinals lined up at the Cincinnati 30-yard line to run a spike play and stop the clock, the officials threw a flag on the Bengals defense. The call was a 15-yard, unsportsmanlike conduct on defensive tackle Domata Peko for using a simulated snap count to cause an Arizona offensive lineman to jump.
A false start would have resulted in a 10-second-run-off, sending the game to overtime. Instead kicker Chandler Catanzaro was put in position for a 32–yard chip shot, which he converted for the win. Without a penalty, the Cardinals would have had to kick a 47–yard field goal.
Lewis denied that one of his players would simulate a snap call and was shocked that the call was made at that point of the game.
"I trust what our player did and said," Lewis said. "He's alerting a run and not anything to do with what they're saying.
"I don't see how they make that call at that point in the game like that. I trust our guy to be honest with me."
Peko said that he has never seen a flag thrown for that call in his 10 years as a pro.
"I don't think I have ever seen that call, ever since I have been in the NFL," Peko said. "We had way too many penalties. That was the name of the game. We were fighting the refs and the Cardinals."