It’s a good thing a playoff spot didn’t hinge on this game.
The Minnesota Vikings edged the Detroit Lions on Sunday, 37-35 on Sunday thanks in large part to a terrible roughing the passer penalty.
Trailing 31-29 with 11:18 remaining, the Vikings faced fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line. Kirk Cousins dropped back on a play-action pass and was immediately sacked by safety Tracy Walker.
It was a clean hit to Cousins’ torso that didn’t involve a blow to the head or Walker using his body weight to drive Cousins into the turf. Officials threw the flag anyway.
Roughing the passer. First-and-goal Vikings.
Vikings convert second chance into touchdown
Two plays later, Cousins snuck in a touchdown and led a Vikings dance party in the end zone.
— NFL (@NFL) January 3, 2021
After the game, referee Adrian Hill defended the call:
Referee Adrian Hill said the hit from Lions safety Tracy Walker on Vikings QB Kirk Cousins was a clear-cut penalty pic.twitter.com/SQOtLA8nvO
— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) January 3, 2021
The touchdown gave the Vikings a 37-29 lead and proved to be the winning score as the Lions failed to convert a game-tying two-point attempt after a touchdown later in the quarter. Both teams had long been eliminated from the postseason, so the only bigger-picture impact of the roughing call and Vikings win involves draft positioning.
Imagine if a call like that would have knocked a team out of the playoffs.
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