LANDOVER, Md. — A game that had major impact on the playoffs ended in controversy when the Washington Commanders denied a penalty that nullified a touchdown and in the last minute from a for a pass interference call on a fourth-down throw in the end zone pleaded 20:12 loss against the New York Giants on Sunday evening.
The Giants (8-5-1) lead for sixth place in the playoffs while Washington (7-6-1) remains in seventh and last place but now faces a tougher road to down by just half a place to secure a place. Game lead over the Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions.
The commanders were angered by an illegal formation penalty on wide receiver Terry McLaurin, which thwarted a 1-yard touchdown run by Brian Robinson with 1:03 time remaining.
Two plays later, Washington said wideout Curtis Samuel was jammed on a fourth down throw in the end zone. No call was made.
“Don’t ask me about refereeing,” Washington coach Ron Rivera said in his post-game press conference. “I can’t answer the question.”
Washington was also upset with an offensive pass interference penalty that nullified a 2-point conversion in the third quarter. But the last sequence stood out because Washington had no chance.
McLaurin was upset because he said he didn’t line up any differently than he had at other times in the game.
In the replay, the side official motioned for McLaurin to step up. McLaurin jumped up.
“When I went up I checked to see if I was good and he said I was good,” McLaurin said. “I’m not trying to get a fine. We had other opportunities; it’s hard to come down like that.”
McLaurin was seen giving the officer a thumbs-up sign. He said he heard the officer say he was fine. But he also said he couldn’t leave it up to officials.
“It’s frustrating because I pride myself on paying attention to detail,” said McLaurin. “When the game is at stake you don’t want to make a mistake to hurt your team. I wanted to make sure I was good and I felt like I was with his confirmation. I take responsibility and I have to Make sure it’s not close but it’s pretty tough Sometimes your helmet flexes and they can whistle for offside.
Referee John Hussey said he didn’t see any exchanges between McLaurin and the official before the snap.
“What I was told and what was confirmed is that the ball was snapped at the half-yard line and it was lined up a yard back at the 1½ yard line,” Hussey told a pool reporter. “To be legal, he has to break the belt, the center’s waist, and he didn’t break the center’s belt. So the penalty was awarded for not being in a legal formation.”
Two plays later, on the fourth and goal from the 6, quarterback Taylor Heinicke scrambled around and then lofted a pass to Samuel in the middle of the endzone. Corner Darnay Holmes was behind Samuel.
Heinicke said: “Oh yes” when asked if he thought a pass interference should have been called.
“The guy has his arm around his neck,” Heinicke said, adding that the commanders could not blame the officers for the loss.
“I can’t control that,” Samuel added. “All I can do is try to make the game when the ball is in the air. I’m not a referee, there’s nothing I can do.”
As Hussey explained, “Pass interference is a verdict. To the officers, it didn’t rise to what they felt was a limitation, so they didn’t call it.”
The Giants had a different perspective on what essentially came down to the end of the game. It allowed them to escape the crucial contest with a win and increase their chances of reaching the postseason to 90%.
“It was a good game,” said Giants coach Brian Daboll calmly. “A good game.”
Holmes was noncommittal when it came to a disturbance. He was called up for a stop earlier in the game and is leading the Giants after being tagged eight times this season.
“I haven’t even watched the game. All I know is that the ball was broken up. We’ll see when I watch the film, but hey, the judges have eyes,” said Holmes. “They will name what they will call. We just live with her call. There are some pieces I wish they wouldn’t call out and there are some pieces I knew I had done and they name it.
“At the end of the day, the umpires make the calls and we rock with it.”
https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/35284241/commanders-dispute-penalties-called-missed-loss-giants Commanders dispute penalties, called and missed, in loss to Giants