NFL World Loses Mind as Cowboys Hold Off Lions’ Comeback in Wild Finish

The only thing wilder than the flu I’ve suffered with since Wednesday was how the Lions/Cowboys game ended on Saturday night.

With 1:41 to play in the game, the Cowboys converted on a 43-yard field goal to give Dallas a 20–13 lead.

The Lions marched down the field in the remaining time with quarterback Jared Goff hitting Amon-Ra St. Brown to cut the Cowboys lead to 1 with 23 seconds left to play. In the expected gritty style of Lions coach Dan Campbell, the choice was made to go for the 2-point conversion for the win instead of the tie and ensuing overtime.

Goff took the snap on the two-point conversion, looked to his left and completed a pass in the end zone to offensive tackle Taylor Decker on what appeared to be the game-winning score on a tackle-eligible play. However, the officials determined that Decker never reported himself as an eligible receiver, and assessed Decker and the Lions with an illegal touching penalty that wiped the two-point conversion off the board.


Offensive tackle Dan Skipper (#70) was announced by the official as an eligible receiver prior to the 2-point try.

Only one problem: The Lions claim that a conversation between Skipper and the official never happened, and that it was actually left tackle Taylor Decker (#68) who reported as eligible. So when the completed pass went to Decker — and after much celebration — a flag was dropped for illegal touching to much confusion on the Lions sideline.

With the Lions now pushed back five yards to the seven-yard line, Campbell makes another unsurprising call to go for the 2-point conversion again, when the the Cowboys were called for an offside penalty.

Once again at the 2-yard line, Campbell triple-dog-dares for another attempt at a win with a 2-pointer, but Goff threw an incomplete pass to tight end James Mitchell, and the Cowboys prevailed with a 1-point lead.

Referee Brad Allen doubled down.

Allen said that there was an additional flag thrown for an illegal formation because Skipper reported as eligible while being covered on the line of scrimmage, though the second infraction in itself seems to indicate the possibility that Allen had, in fact, gotten his signals crossed.

Campbell said postgame that he did inform the officials pregame that the play could be coming.

“I explain everything (to the refs) pregame, to a T,” Campbell said. “OK, I did that. (The explanation was), (Skipper) reported, (Decker) didn’t. We threw it to 68 (Decker).”

Detroit News, ESPN, Sports Illustrated