Chiefs linebacker Hitchens' stop on Lions' Kerryon Johnson draws flashback to 2015 playoff loss
Allen Park — The plays were eerily similar — linebacker Anthony Hitchens, facing the wrong way in coverage, seemingly making contact with a Detroit Lions player before the pass arrives.
The last time, in 2015, is one of the most infamous in Lions' history. In a playoff game, Hitchens, then with the Dallas Cowboys, broke up a fourth-quarter pass intended for Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew.
There was initially a flag on the play, but it was picked up. At the time, the Lions were leading, but they would allow a touchdown on the ensuing Cowboys' possession, losing the game.
Against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, Hitchens, playing with the same technique, made clear contact with running back Kerryon Johnson in the end zone on a play ending with an incompletion.
The difference this time is the Lions were able to challenge the no-call, part of an expansion of replay review this offseason, but opted not to go that route.
"We saw it live," Lions coach Matt Patricia explained on Monday. "We saw it on the replay. (There) was nothing there that significantly hindered, which is the phrase we’re all looking for, from that standpoint. No different than maybe the week before with Danny Amendola — similar situation, similar look. Nothing really there that we thought the risk would have been worth it.”
The Lions did challenge the no-call against Amendola a week ago in Philadelphia, when the receiver was hindered from coming back for an under-thrown pass, but the ruling on the field was upheld.
After the no-call against Johnson, the Lions still found their way down to the 1-yard line a play later, but on the ensuing snap, Johnson fumbled and the Chiefs returned the loose ball 100 yards for a touchdown.