CB Nevin Lawson: NFL told Lions that refs erred on 66-yard penalty

ByMichael Rothstein ESPN logo
Thursday, September 29, 2016

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Detroit Lions cornerback Nevin Lawson on Thursday said the NFL has admitted that his 66-yard pass interference penalty against the Green Bay Packerslast Sunday should not have been flagged.

Lawson said one of his coaches told him about the league's response.

Lions coach Jim Caldwell said he is "not allowed" to comment whether the NFL reached out to the Lions about the call. On Sunday, Caldwell said he didn't believe a flag should have been thrown on the play.

"You asked me a question on Sunday: Did I think that should have been called? I told you no, right?" Caldwell said. "And I haven't changed from that stance, even today. I think that's pretty clear."

Lawson was flagged for the call -- the longest penalty in at least 15 years, according to ESPN Stats & Information research -- after Packers wide receiverTrevor Davis tripped on a long route at the start of the second quarter during Detroit's 34-27 loss to Green Bay. The Packers scored on the drive to jump out to a 21-3 lead.

The previous long during that time period was a 60-yard pass interference call against Cleveland Browns cornerback Mike Adams in a 2010 game against the Baltimore Ravens. ESPN's penalty database starts with the 2001 season.

"It's definitely frustrating because you get that call wrong," Lawson said. "The worst part about it is that it affected that drive, and we gave up a touchdown, you know what I'm saying? So we can't get that back.

"So the only thing we get is an apology, so it's frustrating. But like I said, we got to continue to play and move on."

Lawson said Thursday that he'd be all for the NFL turning pass interference calls either into a reviewable penalty or a straight 15-yard penalty.It is currently a spot foul.

"I would love that," he said. "... For us, that would be awesome, because nine out of the 10, I feel like those calls should be reviewable because I don't really think a lot of those calls should be called.

"They never call receivers pushing off, and they do that 99 percent of the time. But they don't call that. So if they could review some of those things, they can see what's really going on."

Lawson, like other players before him, questioned what repercussions are in place for referees who miss key calls.

"We get fined for doing wrong things on the field," Lawson said. "He should get fined, too, for making wrong, crucial calls."