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  1. Bucs

Official: 'Boys got break

Published Jan. 6, 2015

Cowboys LB Anthony Hitchens should have been penalized — though not necessarily for pass interference — on a controversial fourth-quarter play in Sunday's NFC wild-card win over the Lions, NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino said Monday.

Speaking on PFT Live, Blandino said the pass interference call on Hitchens that was reversed was a "close call that could have went either way." But earlier on the same play, Hitchens committed what Blandino said was an obvious defensive hold by grabbing TE Brandon Pettigrew's jersey. That penalty would have given the Lions an automatic first down.

Blandino acknowledged that the refs should have huddled on the interference call to make sure they got it right before announcing then reversing it.

That call was not subject to replay review, something Detroit coach Jim Caldwell says should be reconsidered.

"I think without question it was probably not officiated correctly in my estimation," Caldwell said a day after Detroit's 24-20 loss. "Nevertheless, I do think in this day and age, with modern times where we have technology that can take out the human factor in certain key situations in big games, that we should use that technology to do so."

RIVERA OKAY AFTER FIRE: An overnight fire at the home of Panthers coach Ron Rivera left his family displaced.

The 7,000-square-foot, two-story Charlotte home sustained "significant" damage from an early morning blaze that spewed heavy smoke and fire from the attic. No one was injured in the two-alarm blaze, which took about an hour to extinguish.

The Charlotte Fire Investigative Task Force determined the cause of the "accidental fire" to be a fireplace and estimated the damages at about $500,000.

BRONCOS HEALING: The bye week seemed to do the battered Broncos an abundance of good.

Denver had listed 22 players on its injury report before the season finale against Oakland, but only S David Bruton and LG Orlando Franklin, who have concussions, sat out the first practice for Sunday's playoff game against the Colts. Both QB Peyton Manning (thigh) and LB Brandon Marshall (sprained foot) were on the field.

REINFORCED RAVENS: Ravens starting LT Eugene Monroe and rookie DT Timmy Jernigan will practice today, coach John Harbaugh said. Monroe has missed the past two weeks with an ankle injury. Jernigan, a former FSU standout, suffered an ankle/foot injury in the regular-season finale.