Lions didn’t rush PAT because refs told Caldwell TD was confirmed

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
The Lions' Darren Fells dives into the end zone over the Vikings' Tramaine Brock Sr. But after a review, the TD call was overturned in the third quarter. Detroit kicked a field goal on the next play.

Detroit – The Lions had a touchdown call reversed in Thursday’s 30-23 loss and fans watching at the stadium, or the broadcast at home, were perplexed why the team was so lackadaisical snapping the point after the touchdown.

It turns out the Lions had been informed by the officiating crew the touchdown ruling was confirmed, negating the team’s sense of urgency.

“Well, they hadn’t confirmed it,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. “So, you confirm it, you take your time and you kick it.”

Fighting to dig out of another second-half deficit, the Lions appeared to bite into the Minnesota Vikings’ 17-point third-quarter edge when quarterback Matthew Stafford found tight end Darren Fells for a 14-yard touchdown on third-and-10.

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The route was good, a skinny post down the seam with Fells using his big frame to box out the safety in coverage. The throw was nearly perfect, low, where only the tight end could make a play on it.

But like all scoring plays, it was subject to review. A team cannot kick the extra point until the officials give the go-ahead. In this case they did, only for the booth to change its mind and buzz down moments later.

“They review it, they tell you it’s good, why rush?” Caldwell said. “Our guys are just doing what’s normal. They were getting lined up, getting ready to kick and all of a sudden, boom, ‘Hold on a minute. We’re going to take a look at this.’ And that’s how it happened.”

It’s unclear what the breakdown was between the officials on the field and the replay booth. It could have been a premature signal, or maybe the booth got a late look at a different replay angle. It doesn’t really matter.

Once it was reviewed, it was determined the nose of the ball hit the ground and was moving, negating Fells’ catch. That took the six off the board and the Lions were forced to settle for a field goal.

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