The referees in the Buffalo Bills-Detroit Lions game on Thanksgiving may have missed a facemask penalty.
The Detroit Lions haven’t won on Thanksgiving since they defeated the Minnesota Vikings back in 2016. They were oh-so close to forcing overtime against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday, but they watched as kicker Tyler Bass snuck in a 45-yard field goal to give them the eventual 28-25 win.
But what if the kick never happened? Because there was a controversial missed call on that drive.
Bills quarterback Josh Allen had pushed the team downfield on their final drive after a beautiful 36-yard pass to Stefon Diggs. From there, Allen used his legs to scramble up the field to get them in field goal range. However, on Allen’s nine-yard gain, you can see offensive tackle Spencer Brown grab cornerback Mike Hughes’ facemask.
You can view the play at this link.
Did referees cost Lions with missed facemask penalty?
Here is the official explanation regarding the facemask penalty, per NFL Football Operations:
"No player shall grasp and control, twist, turn, push, or pull the facemask of an opponent in any direction.Note: If a player grasps an opponent’s facemask, he must immediately release it. If he does not immediately release it and controls his opponent, it is a foul."
If the referees had called a penalty, it would have resulted in the Bills losing 15-yards. Hypothetically that would have made Bass’ field goal attempt even longer. Considering how his game-winner just squeaked inside the left upright.
The Lions held a 22-19 lead in the game after a one-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jared Goff to wide receiver D.J. Chark. That lead disappeared after a five-yard touchdown reception by Stefon Diggs, giving Buffalo the 25-22 edge. On the ensuing drive, the Lions were able to tie things up after a 51-yard field goal by Michael Badgley.
Unfortunately for the Lions, leaving 23 seconds on the clock for the Bills was too much.
The Lions will look to get back in the win column in Week 13, when they take on the Jacksonville Jaguars.