Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis critical of ‘phantom call’ vs. Cardinals

Monday November 23rd, 2015

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."

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Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald both said that they heard the Bengals trying to simulate snap calls during the game.

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."

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