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The NFL is really sorry for what happened in the Lions' loss to the Cowboys Sunday.

The league is so sorry that it admitted to the Lions that its officials missed a holding penalty in the fourth quarter on one of the plays during the Cowboys' game-winning drive, according to ESPN.

This admission, of course, comes a day after Dean Blandino, NFL vice president of officiating, admitted officials should've called defensive holding on what is now the infamous overturned pass interference by Dallas linebacker Anthony Hitchens on Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew.

On fourth-and-6 with six minutes left, Dallas left guard Ronald Leary held Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to give Tony Romo enough time to hit tight end Jason Witten for a 21-yard pass.

The infraction didn't draw a penalty, and the Cowboys finished the drive with a touchdown, an 8-yarder from Romo to Terrance Williams with 2:32 left in the fourth quarter. Had Leary's hold drawn a penalty flag, the Cowboys likely would've punted facing fourth-and-16.

Now, the admission of guilt by the NFL doesn't do the Lions any good because their season is already over. And this missed call has nothing to do with the overturned pass interference that preceded it, a play that hurt the Lions in immeasurable ways.

Officials, though, miss holding penalties every game. There were others not which with the Lions could've griped, and there were likely others the Cowboys could've complained about, too.

Yet, no matter what the league or officials say, the game is over, and the Cowboys advanced to the divisional round of the NFC playoffs.

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/jkatzenstein

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