Watch: Refs miss ‘illegal batting’ in end zone on Calvin Johnson fumble
The referees missed an important call late in Monday’s Lions-Seahawks game that gave Seattle possession and allowed it to run out the clock for a victory, NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino said after the game.
Trailing 13–10, Detroit went on a 10-play, 90-yard drive in the fourth quarter but Johnson’s fumble cost the Lions what would have been the go-ahead score with 1:51 remaining.
Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright knocked the ball out of the back of the end zone and the play was ruled a touchback, giving Seattle possession on its own 20-yard line.
Wright should have been penalized for illegally batting the ball out of the end zone, which would have kept possession with the Lions, Blandino told ESPN’s Mike Tirico. The call is not reviewable.
NFL rules state that a player may not bat or punch a ball “in any direction in either end zone.” If the rule had been applied correctly, Detroit would have retained possession at the spot of the fumble, giving them first and goal at the 1.
Blandino: “Judgment call on the field. Back judge felt it wasn’t overt. That’s why he didn’t call it on the field."— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) October 6, 2015
With the loss, the Lions fell to 0–4, their first 0–4 start since 2010.
- Dan Gartland