Whitehead won't complain about controversial call
Chicago — For the second consecutive week, the Lions were on the wrong end of a controversial pass interference penalty that resulted in a deciding touchdown.
Against the Bears, Lions linebacker Tahir Whitehead tracked running back Jordan Howard out of the backfield on a wheel route, breaking up the downfield pass just short of the goal line before a flag flew.
Replays showed minimal contact between the players before the ball arrived, but after a short conference the officials ruled Whitehead interfered with Howard. The infraction gave the Bears the ball at the Lions 4 and they found the end zone on the next play, taking an early 7-0 lead.
Whitehead said he received no explanation from the official and declined to complain about the call, not wanting to be fined by the league.
“I’m not paid to make calls in the game, I’m just paid to play,” Whitehead said. “I can’t worry about a pass interference call, I just have to line up and play the next play.”
Last week, against the Packers, cornerback Nevin Lawson was flagged for a 66-yard pass interference penalty, the longest in at least 30 years. That play also set up a touchdown in the Lions’ 31-24 loss.
Later in the week, Lawson said the NFL admitted it made a mistake.
Immediately after that game, Caldwell said he didn’t feel Lawson should have been flagged. Asked for an assessment on Whitehead’s pass interference, Caldwell deflected blame from the officials to his team for not overcoming the potential error.
“If he calls it, there’s not a whole lot you can do about it,” Caldwell said. “We didn’t play well enough. Besides that, I think it balances out. They probably missed some calls on us and I think it balances itself out. We are certainly not looking at that as a difference in the ballgame.”
But without saying the official made a mistake, both Caldwell and Whitehead said they wouldn’t have changed anything with the way the play was defended.
“No. I played through his hands,” Whitehead said. “He went up for the ball and I pressed in to him. I played the way I’m taught to play that play.”