Thursday, December 14, 2017
Sports

Top NFL official defends Lions' face-mask flag

DETROIT — The NFL's top official defended the face-mask call against the Lions that led to Packers beating them with a Hail Mary touchdown pass Thursday night.

Aaron Rodgers threw a 61-yard pass to tight end Richard Rodgers on the final play to give the Packers a 27-23 win one play after Lions defensive end Devin Taylor was called for a face-mask penalty against the quarterback on a third-and-10 play. The penalty gave Green Bay an automatic first down.

Taylor said he didn't believe he grabbed the face mask. NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino defended the penalty on Twitter right after the game, saying an official "is going to make that call almost every time."

LIONS DIDN'T EXPECT THE EXPECTED: The biggest question about the Lions' defense on the Hail Mary play — the longest such winning scoring pass in NFL history — was why wasn't 6-foot-5 receiver Calvin Johnson on the field to help knock the ball down?

Coach Jim Caldwell said the Lions opted not to use Johnson as a deep safety on the play because they were concerned about Green Bay running a lateral like the one that resulted in the face mask penalty on the previous play .

"In that situation we have a couple different things that we do," Caldwell said. "That was one where you're kind of looking for more of that pass back and forth kind of thing because of the range. … We had plenty of guys back there. … We just didn't make the play. They did."

REPORT: TWO PACKERS MISSED CURFEW: Packers running backs Eddie Lacy and Alonzo Harris missed curfew in Detroit on Wednesday, which resulted in a roster shakeup for the Lions game, reports said. Lacy played just 19 snaps after rushing for at least 100 yards in each of the previous two games. He did not take the field until the final moments of the first quarter and rushed five times for 4 yards. Harris, an undrafted free agent from Louisiana-Lafayette, was released a few hours before kickoff. Coach Mike McCarthy on Friday said discipline was handled internally and a demotion for Lacy was the outcome.

FINES ROUNDUP: 49ers defensive end Quinton Dial was fined $17,363 for his hit on Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer on Sunday. … Broncos linebacker Von Miller was docked $8,681 for his hit on Patriots QB Tom Brady on Sunday.

Falcons: Wide receiver and return specialist Devin Hester was moved to the active roster for Sunday's game against the Bucs. He hasn't played this season because of a turf toe injury. Ruled out for the game were kicker Matt Bryant (right quadriceps) and tight end Tony Moeaki (hamstring).

Jets: Cornerback Darrelle Revis (concussion) was listed as out for Sunday against the Giants.

Patriots: Tight end Rob Gronkowski (knee) was ruled out for Sunday's game against the Eagles. Receiver Julian Edelman (left foot) is out for the third game in a row.

Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger is expected to start Sunday against the Colts. Tight end Heath Miller (ribs) is questionable.

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