Football Zebras
2016 Postseason2016 Wild Card PlayoffsWild Card liveblog: Lions at Seahawks

Wild Card liveblog: Lions at Seahawks

2016 NFC Wild Card Playoff

Follow us here for rolling coverage of the calls and rules interpretations of the NFC Wild Card Playoff game from CenturyLink Field in Seattle.

If you have any questions or comments, use the comments section of this post, or tweet us @footballzebras.

Today’s crew is headed by Brad Allen.

      Yrs 2016 crew College Occupation
R 122 Brad Allen 3   Pembroke State non-profit CEO
U 44 Jeff Rice 22 Coleman Northwestern attorney
HL 134 Ed Camp 16 Boger William Paterson physical education teacher
LJ 18 Byron Boston 22 Anderson Austin tax consultant
FJ 103 Eugene Hall 3 Boger North Texas federal agent
SJ 73 Joe Larrew 15 Blakeman St Louis attorney
BJ 46 Perry Paganelli 19 Parry Hope College retired high school administrator
  • Replay: Jim Lapetina
  • Alternates: Walt Anderson (R), Jeff Lamberth (SJ), Mike Weatherford (FJ)


Patrick Weber Patrick Weber January 8, 20171:07 am

Following the game, referee Brad Allen met with a pool reporter to discuss the controversial touchdown catch by Paul Richardson.

Q:(On whether he told the Lions coach that he should have called a facemask on Paul Richardson…)
A:I did not tell Coach Caldwell that.

Q:(On whether anyone on the official staff told Coach Caldwell that…)
A:I’m not aware that any on-field game official told Coach Caldwell that.

Q:(On whether in his estimation that was a penalty that should have or could have been called…)
A:First of all, that’s not my coverage, because my responsibility obviously is in the backfield with the quarterback. There were covering officials there who did not rule that there was a facemask on the play. They did rule defensive pass interference, but every play is subject to review by the league.
Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 7, 201711:11 pm

Seattle 26-6, final

Penalties, 15. Seattle 6/40, Detroit 7/68 (+2 declined).

Replays, 2. Booth review inside 2:00 (confirmed), Seattle challenge (reversed).

Patrick Weber Patrick Weber January 7, 201711:02 pm
3:36 | 4th qtr Seahawks TD — Doug Baldwin 13 yd. pass from Russell Wilson (Stephen Haushka kick). SEA 26-6 key
Patrick Weber Patrick Weber January 7, 201710:59 pm
4:02 | 4th qtr. Seahawks challenge — Incomplete catch. Call reversed. key
Patrick Weber Patrick Weber January 7, 201710:38 pm
8:49 | 4th qtr Seahawks TD — Thomas Rawls 4 yd. run (kick hit right upright). SEA 19-6 key
Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 7, 201710:30 pm

14:06 | 4th qtr. Veteran play-by-play announcer Al Michaels is baffled that Anquan Boldin was not ejected after his second dead-ball foul of the game. Both of the two fouls were for unnecessary roughness, and he corrected himself after the commercial break. An ejection will be made for two unsportsmanlike conduct fouls under the new rule.

Mark Schultz Mark Schultz January 7, 201710:26 pm

13:45 | 4th qtr. Things getting chippy in Seattle. The Lions have picked up two personal fouls–one of offense and one on defense. Allen’s crew is not putting up with nonsense and both teams would be well served to settle down and play football.

Patrick Weber Patrick Weber January 7, 201710:20 pm
14:12 | 4th qtr Seahawks FG — Stephen Haushka 27 yd. SEA 13-6 key
Ben Austro Ben Austro January 7, 201710:10 pm
4:08 | 3rd qtr Lions FG — Matt Prater 53 yd. SEA 10-6 key
Ben Austro Ben Austro January 7, 201710:09 pm
:24 | 2nd Lions FG — Matt Prater 51 yd. SEA 10-3 key
Ben Austro Ben Austro January 7, 201710:07 pm
1:28 | 2nd qtr. Replay review (2:00) — Completed catch near sideline. Call confirmed. key


Ben Austro Ben Austro January 7, 201710:04 pm
2:00 | 2nd qtr. Seahawks FG — Stephen Haushka 43 yd. SEA 10-6key
Ben Austro Ben Austro January 7, 201710:00 pm

On the Richardson touchdown, there was a defensive pass interference foul that was declined. Lions safety Tavon Wilson bumped into Richardson while facing Richardson. This is going to be ruled a deliberate action and a defensive pass interference. However…

Richardson, after being interfered with, hooked his arm around Wilson’s helmet, and Wilson’s head turned. Is this a facemask? It certainly could be called, as grabbing the helmet opening and pulling is a facemask foul. If the hand was on the earhole with the head turn, no foul. Wilson wears a plastic face shield, so an open hand on the face shield is not a foul. If there is a grip of the facemask bars, then there is a foul.

It looks like Richardson had a hand on the bars, but a grip of the bars is not that clear. This is in slow-motion replay, and subsequent replays by NBC zoomed it in to show the contact. If the network has to resort to enlarging the picture, this is not going to be called in real time. Neither the deep wing nor the back judge, though would have had a good look at the infraction, and neither did the network, since the shot had to be enhanced.

Offsetting pass interference calls are never flagged when the action occurs in the same location. This gives the offense the advantage of a down replay, so the call must go one way or the other. But in this case, it is a personal foul for a facemask, and when it is blatant, it will be called.

Lions coach Jim Caldwell said he was told by the officials that there was an uncalled facemask, so SVP/officiating Dean Blandino probably got word down to the crew during the game.


Cameron Filipe Anonymous
Mark Schultz Mark Schultz January 7, 20179:16 pm

As you watch the game tonight, keep an eye on Jeff Rice and how he works the finger whistle.

Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 7, 20179:12 pm

5:02 | 2nd qtr. Detroit’s Anquan Boldin was flagged for shoving a member of the Seattle bench after an incomplete pass. Line judge Byron Boston was right there along the sideline to make the call.

Ben Austro Ben Austro January 7, 20179:05 pm
7:07 | 2nd qtr. Seahawks TD — Paul Richardson 2 yd. pass from Russell Wilson (Stephen Hauschka kick). SEA 7-0 key
Ben Austro Ben Austro January 7, 20178:45 pm

8:26 | 1st qtr. Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham was hit hard on the incomplete pass. He’s in a defenseless posture at the time, which means he has protections from forcible blows to the head. A replay shows that, while Graham’s head jolted on the hit, it was a legal hit.

Ben Austro Ben Austro January 7, 20178:36 pm

14:16 | 1st qtr. The first penalty called by Allen was a wrong-way block-in-the-back foul on a Lions punt. The crew quickly convened and got the announcement corrected. Some first-game jitters, and the only thing to do is brush it off and move on with the game.

Ben Austro Ben Austro January 7, 20178:24 pm


Ben Austro Ben Austro January 7, 20172:14 pm

Referee Brad Allen is in his 3rd season. This is Allen’s first playoff assignment in his second year of eligibility. Allen was hired directly to the referee position from the NCAA in 2014.

23 thoughts on “Wild Card liveblog: Lions at Seahawks

  1. Officials messed up the downs after the illegal shift penalty against Seattle was declined by Detroit and let a Seattle offensive receiver pull on a face mask hard of the defender and not not throw a flag. But will throw a flag for blocking in the back on Detroit when they were the punting team Explanation?

  2. I thought the block in the back by Detroit, even as the punting team, was an obvious and good call. Another missed face mask on a Zach Zenner run, though.

  3. Cameron Seattle had an illegal shift penalty declined also. Go back and look and you’ll also see the down was messed up.

  4. Ben continues to excuse poor performance with made up conjecture. The ref’s blew the call because they didn’t do their job. Call it out, and move on, don’t make up fictitious excuses. You’re better than that.

  5. Ben I understand your prejudice. But that facemask on the touchdown was not nearly as iffy as you portray it I believe if Mr. Blandino called down to the crew and then they told Coach Caldwell they punted the call that that would support my position. Now they miss the Russell Wilson block in the back down field. Tough night for the crew.

  6. As NBC confirmed, Detroit is being hamstrung by the ref’s tonight. It’s not why they are losing, but it’s not a level field.

  7. Life-long football fan – clean up the game – clean up the ref’s. with existing technology time to do away with some of the ref’s on the field?


  9. Please. Momentum is real. NFL needs to replace poor refs at half time and minimize the number of people that believe favorite teams advance (PS. The Lion’s are not an NFL favorite as made obvious in many games this season and also tonight). Lion’s fans know there team is not dominant, but it is sad and a bit funny how the league refs have 1-sided glasses against them. Go Black and White! Please tell me who you pick to win the Superbowl so I can make some money too!!)

  10. 3 missed calls that need explanation from Bladino: 1) No facemask call on Seahawks 1st TD; no block in the back call on QB
    Russel downfield; No DPI call on “uncatchable” ball that lands 3 yards ahead of a receiver who was held.

  11. Don’t forget the 1st illegal block in the back was by the kicking team who just pushed the blocker away and the blocker fell (happens all the time). Also, don’t forget the BS roughing the passer for hitting Russell Wilson on his shoulder pads while he still held the ball. In addition, they didn’t call Seattle for a personal foul after dropping Matthew Stafford flat on his back AFTER THE WHISTLE! Compare that to the legal tackle of Ezekial Elliott before the whistle.

    Now add the OPI against Eric Ebron that cost the game against the Titans, the 67 yd PI that shouldn’t have been called and all the GB OL holds that weren’t called that cost them the game against the Packers, the BS hands to the face against Chicago, the dropped pass for a completion and blow to Stafford’s head that wasn’t called against the Giants, the facemasking that should have been called against Dez Bryant, the OPI in the endzone that wasn’t called and the BS personal foul for tackling Elliott that cost them the game against the Cowboys, and the illegal motion penalty not called against Aaron Rodgers and the numerous GB holds that were not called that cost the game against GB, and you wonder why Detroit Lion fans would think they are being cheated? What the Hell.

    All these obvious and blatant officiating “mistakes” change the momentum and they way the players play the game. It has to affect the way the Detroit Lion players play when they have to make up for all the official’s mistakes.

    I for one am sick and tired of seeing the same crap game after game, season after season, decade after decade. I think the NFL has lost many loyal fans that have now realized that outcomes are scripted and will never come back. I, for one, am running out of “wait till next year”.

  12. I think the real confusion regarding the personal fouls and unsportsmanlike fouls is that nobody can tell the difference. When a player tries to start a fight with someone on the sideline who’s not even in the game, why isn’t it a personal foul? If the player did that to an official, would that be tolerated in the same manner? The personal foul decisions are so arbitrary, no one can make heads and tails of them. And the NFL tries so hard to avoid ejecting players, the product, at times, can be as out of control and ridiculous as World Wrestling Entertainment. I agree that certain penalties should not fall under the disqualification rule: some unnecessary roughness calls are just guys playing hard and making a physical mistake. Excessive celebrations are harmless. But I disagree with the NFL that it’s okay to try to fight someone after a play is over, and I think it makes a mockery of the game.

  13. “Russel downfield; No DPI call on “uncatchable” ball that lands 3 yards ahead of a receiver who was held.” – Definitely a bad call. It would have been a great catch, but when the defense doesn’t even give the receiver a chance to make a great catch, it’s DPI.

  14. This year shows how easy it is for a ref to throw a game. Not by the calls they do make but by the ones they don’t make. And there is no recourse for an un-American call.

  15. No matter what team – I hate it when refs determine the game. They showed either total incompetency in which case they should be fired OR that Paul Allen can move money around where nobody can see it into the hands of Roger Goodell and the refs. It has to be one of the two things

  16. I’m a Lions fan and think they got hosed on a couple of missed calls, but it’s clear to me the outcome of this game was NOT determined by the officials.

    The Lions aren’t in the same league as the Seahawks (“….yet,” he says hopefully…)., and the refs didn’t give up huge runs or drop passes.

    That doesn’t excuse the mistakes, but it’s not fair to say that the refs determined the outcome. Fortunately for Brad Allen & Co. the final score wasn’t 27-26…that could have led to interesting questions.

  17. If the NFL wants to understand why television ratings for games was down 8% this year look no further than the first four playoff games. You might expect one game to be lousy, maybe even two, but all four? And how is it possible to predict a game that should be as close as the Seattle vs Detroit match up should have been? Before the game started my football watching and wagering friends were saying that there was no way the NFL would let Seattle lose to Detroit, and they were right. Their reasoning? Seattle was the last west coast team still in the playoffs and for TV ratings they would ensure Seattle moved on to the next round. And besides, the NFL officials have a long history of shafting the Lions in the playoffs. Obviously the football wagering public was in on this “fix” as the line kept moving up and up until at game time the Lions were getting 9 points. Are the Seahawks 9 points better than the Lions? I’ve watched a lot of games involving the Lions and the Seahawks this year and I just can’t see the Lions being 9 point dogs to the Seahawks. Their records were very close, both teams are average to OK by NFL standards (which is now good enough to make the playoffs), but not at the same level of the Patriots or the Cowboys. Neither team had any major injuries except Staffords finger which he has been playing through. Yet the odds makers were right – Seattle easily covered the 9 points. Thanks in no small measure to the officials clearly favoring the Seahawks. Still, as poorly as Detroit played, one has to wonder, if the game was played on a true “level playing field”, would the Lions have been more competitive and the score much closer? It’s a fair question – Does the officiating make the Lions worse (and the Seahawks better)? It’s also a question that has to be asked in far too many NFL games (especially playoff games), year after year. And it is a question that should not have to be asked at all. The officiating should not play a role, or at least not a major role, in the outcome of an NFL game. Yet year after year, game after game, the officiating does impact the outcome. And the NFL does nothing to change this reality. One then has to ask the question – “why doesn’t the NFL do something to improve the officiating”? And the answer to that question has to be either 1. – they can’t, 2. – they don’t think they have a problem (the NFL lives in its own corporate bubble), 3. – they don’t want to fix it (they don’t care so long as the $$$ keeps rolling in and people keep watching), or 4. – it (the poor officiating) is purposeful.

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