Cowboys Survive Lions on Disputed Late 2-Point Conversion Call

Detroit, MI – A hotly disputed penalty on a potential game-winning 2-point conversion attempt sunk the Detroit Lions in a dramatic 20-19 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. The call wiped out a successful 2-point try by the Lions with just 23 seconds left.

Lions coach Dan Campbell was livid about the critical penalty. He indicated after the game that he had properly notified officials pregame about the trick play. However, miscommunication clearly occurred in the chaos of the climactic final seconds.

Detroit Gambled on Late 2-Point Attempt, Saw Score Nullified

Down 20-13, the Lions valiantly rallied in the closing minutes. Quarterback Jared Goff connected with rookie tight end Sam LaPorta on clutch back-to-back completions to reach Dallas territory. Running back D’Andre Swift powered through the line for a 3-yard touchdown with 23 seconds remaining to make it 20-19.

Knowing he needed a 2-point conversion to take the lead, Detroit coach Dan Campbell did not hesitate to go for the winning points. On the try, Goff lofted a short pass to offensive tackle Taylor Decker, who seemed wide open near the goal line. However, officials threw a flag for illegal touching and waved off the score.

The controversial call came because Decker had not reported as an eligible receiver before the play. Teams must notify officials when using linemen as pass catchers to prevent trickery. Replays showed Decker tried in vain to report to referee Brad Allen amid the last-second chaos.

“I did exactly what coach told me to do,” a frustrated Decker told reporters afterward. “Went to the ref, said ‘Report,’ yeah. It was my understanding too that [Coach Campbell] brings up the possibility of those plays pregame.”

After the penalty, Detroit still had two more chances thanks to a Dallas offsides foul on the nullified play. But Goff’s throws on the desperate do-over attempts fell incomplete. The Cowboys hung on by their fingernails for a 20-19 victory.

Botched Call Prompts Intense Reaction from All Sides

The controversial climax sparked impassioned reaction on social media, in the broadcast booth and beyond.

“I don’t know if he just didn’t hear that or what. They said that only [Dan] Skipper reported, but the evidence is on the tape,” FOX commentator Troy Aikman remarked.

Replays clearly showed Decker also approaching the referee, seemingly indicating he reported eligibility. Former NFL ref John Parry, now an ESPN rules analyst, agreed Decker properly alerted the officials.

“I don’t think [referee] Brad Allen ever recognized Decker,” Parry said. “I think Decker tries to get to him and say ‘Hey, me too, I’m with the eligibles on this play.'”

A livid Campbell screamed heatedly at officials afterward. In his postgame press conference, the coach revealed he took proper steps before kickoff to notify them about the play.

“I explained everything pregame. To a T. I did that,” Campbell told reporters. “70 reported, 68 didn’t, we threw it to 68. That was the explanation.”

Number 70 is Lions lineman Dan Skipper, while 68 is Decker’s jersey number. Campbell was still fuming when pressed by reporters after the game.

“Would you be frustrated right now?” he fired back. “I don’t like losing Dave. That’s what happened. We lost. That bothers me. I don’t like having an L. That’s the frustration.”

Referee Claims Decker Never Reported As Eligible

Per standard procedure after questionable calls, referee Brad Allen spoke to a pool reporter postgame to explain the decision. Allen stated flatly that Decker never reported his eligibility on the play.

“Number 68, who ended up going downfield and touching the pass, did not report. Therefore, he is an ineligible touching a pass that goes beyond the line, which mades it a foul,” Allen said.

Allen also noted Dan Skipper’s pre-snap report was unnecessary since Skipper lined up normally on the line. But Skipper reporting first would not prevent Decker from legally checking in as well.

When asked about Decker approaching him during the play, Allen did not acknowledge any interaction occurred. He focused only on Skipper’s report to the Dallas defense.

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“That conversation is where number 70 reports to me, and I then go to the defensive team, and I say to them ‘Number 70 has reported as an eligible receiver,’” Allen explained.

On ESPN, rules expert John Parry rejected that rationale. He noted two players can legally report eligibility on the same play.

“No. Two eligible or ineligibles can report to play the opposite position that they need to,” Parry countered. “Two is not the issue.”

In Parry’s view, the evidence clearly shows Allen simply failed to register Decker’s report, whether he didn’t hear it or process it. That left Decker unaware he needed to repeat the report.

Lions Players Lament ‘Unfortunate’ Last-Second Ruling

Detroit players uniformly expressed both disbelief and frustration about the loss after the game. Quarterback Jared Goff said he was “confused” by the controversial call.

“I know Decker reported, I know Dan Skipper did not, I do know they said Dan Skipper did. It’s unfortunate,” Goff emphasized.

He later added, “I don’t think it was, there was no ‘the fix is in,’ it’s not that. They just messed it up. It happens. It’s part of the game. But unfortunately it happened on that play.”

Lions left wondering ‘what if’ after officials’ late blunder.

“It sucks. It’s unfortunate, man,” Goff lamented. “I don’t know if I’ve had this feeling before, where you feel like you’ve won but you didn’t.”

Cowboys Escape Thanks to Unlikely 92-Yard TD Strike

Before the frenetic finish, neither team played particularly crisp or consistent football. The Cowboys held a narrow 7-3 lead at halftime.

Dallas benefited from the biggest highlight of the first half on a improbable 92-yard touchdown bomb. Quarterback Dak Prescott somehow dodged a sack and hit CeeDee Lamb deep downfield. Lamb finished with 13 grabs for a career-best 227 yards.

Detroit squandered other first half chances. Lions receiver DJ Chark fumbled just shy of the goal line for a touchback. The Lions also failed on a late fourth-down try at the Dallas 4-yard line.

Despite a 196-149 yardage edge, the Lions had just three points at the break. Prescott’s unlikely 92-yard scoring connection provided Dallas’ margin of victory.

Montgomery TD Run Briefly Gives Lions 4th Quarter Lead

Detroit finally reached the end zone early in the second half on a determined 3-yard touchdown run by David Montgomery. The scoring scamper put the Lions up 10-7.

But the Cowboys responded to regain the lead with 7:20 left. Prescott found receiver Brandin Cooks for a touchdown and a 17-13 Dallas edge.

When Dallas got the ball back still up four, Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson came up huge with a drive-stopping third down sack. The big play gave Detroit another shot at a go-ahead score.

Cowboys Clinch Win on Late Field Goal

A Jared Goff interception initially appeared to seal the win for Dallas. But the Lions forced a quick three-and-out to get the ball back down 20-13 with just over a minute left.

Goff proceeded to lead Detroit on a dramatic late scoring march. But kicker Brett Maher drilled a 51-yard field goal with 24 seconds remaining to push the lead to 7. That set up Campbell’s bold 2-point gamble.

Wild 4th Quarter Climax Tainted by Pivotal Penalty

In the end, a refereeing misstep marred an otherwise tremendously exciting fourth quarter. The inconsistent early play gave way to a thrilling series of lead changes late.

Unfortunately, the officials’ critical error on Detroit’s climactic 2-point try will rightly remain the lasting image. The Lions earned the chance to win or lose the game on that defining play. Instead, a controversial call unfairly deprived them of that opportunity.

While human mistakes are part of sports, getting such a pivotal call wrong in the final seconds is a bitter pill to swallow. The Lions showed inspiring perseverance to position themselves for a potential win. But the hotly disputed ruling unjustly stole that chance in the end.

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