Missed Call on Game-Deciding Play Stuns NFL Analysts, Officiating Experts: ‘It’s Always a Foul’

In a wild NFL weekend that included the Indianapolis Colts suffering the biggest regular season collapse in NFL history and the New England Patriots losing on the dumbest play you may ever see, it is somehow the conclusion to the Sunday Night Football game that has elicited the most vociferous reaction.

The game, which saw the New York Giants hold on for a 20-12 win against the Washington Commanders, was marred by a pair of controversies both involving every sports fan’s biggest bane — referees.

First, the incident that has drawn the most outrage.

On what was effectively the final play of the game (Washington was down to just one timeout, so if they didn’t score on the play, New York could just kill the clock), Commanders quarterback Tyler Heinicke was scrambling for his life to make a play when he found receiver Curtis Samuel with a sliver of daylight in the endzone. Samuel was unable to corral the football, but that’s where the controversy set in.

Samuel was seemingly unable to catch the football because of contact made by Giants cornerback Darnay Holmes before the ball got there. By virtually any definition, it was textbook pass interference.

Just not to the referees officiating the game. Apparently neither Allen Baynes, John Hussey, Carl Johnson, Brad Freeman, Jabir Walker, Alan Eck nor Robin DeLorenzo saw what many feel is as blatant of a pass interference as you can get.

Take a look at the clip below and judge for yourself:

THE GIANTS DEFENSE COMES UP HUGE! #TogetherBlue #NYGvsWAS on NBC and @peacock. pic.twitter.com/ALBSu4zM3f

— Sunday Night Football on NBC (@SNFonNBC) December 19, 2022

Here are a few different angles of the incident in question (also note former NFL star Robert Griffin III’s all-caps declaration that, “THIS IS PASS INTERFERENCE”).

THIS IS PASS INTERFERENCE pic.twitter.com/2G34aqzHFk

— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) December 19, 2022

Here’s a very clear still shot showing contact before the football was catchable:

This is defensive pass interference.

Disgusting non call in the biggest moment of the game. pic.twitter.com/rEmQyYuz96

— Scott Abraham (@Scott7news) December 19, 2022

It was bad enough that NBC’s “SNF” rules analyst was emphatic about it. (There’s a running joke that all national NFL rules analysts hedge their declarations.)

“This is defensive pass interference,” NBC’s Terry McAulay definitively said. “It’s always a foul and should have been called.”

Some Giants fans pointed to the missed penalty when a Commanders offensive lineman seemingly poked the eye of Giants pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux on the play in question. That’s fair! Thibodeaux abruptly stopped rushing Heinicke and seemed to grab his face in pain.

Should officials have called pass interference on this play?






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