Officials and Detroit Lions coaches all missed a sack of Baker Mayfield one play before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers scored a game-tying touchdown in Sunday's divisional-round playoff game.
The play in question took place late in the third quarter with Detroit leading 17-10. Lions pass-rusher Tyson Alualu got pressure on Mayfield and knocked him to the turf. Mayfield got rid of the ball, and officials ruled the play an incomplete pass with no intentional grounding penalty.
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But Mayfield should've been called down. His right calf clearly hit the turf while he had the ball in his hand, meaning he was down. Officials didn't see it, and neither, apparently, did Lions coaches. Detroit had the option to challenge the call on the field, but Dan Campbell didn't throw the red challenge flag.
NBC's rules analyst Terry McAulay disagreed with the call on the field and believes the Lions would have won a challenge.
"He is down," McAulay said. "That calf is clearly down, and that ball is still in his hands. Detroit would have won the challenge had they gone through with it."
Instead of a sack that would've set the Bucs up with third-and-21 at the Detroit 23, the Bucs faced third-and-10 from the 12-yard line. One play later, the Bucs tied the game with a screen pass from Mayfield to Rachaad White.
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It added up to a key missed call setting up a touchdown in a playoff game. Fortunately for Detroit, the miscue didn't come back to bite them. The Lions held on for a 31-23 win to advance to the NFC championship next week against the San Francisco 49ers.