Lions DE Trey Flowers says ‘I didn’t think hands to the chest was a penalty’ after loss to Packers, Oct. 14, 2019 in Green Bay.
Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press
GREEN BAY, Wis. – They were furious, both at themselves for wasting opportunities and at officials for a trio of “awful” calls that went against them in the second half.
Several Detroit Lions blasted the officiating after Monday’s 23-22 loss to the Green Bay Packers, saying a pair of hands-to-the-face penalties on Trey Flowers and a personal foul on Tracy Walker were incorrectly officiated.
“I didn’t think hands to the chest was a penalty,” Flowers said postgame as he sat in the Lions locker room, pads still on. “I thought hands to the face, but I had him right here in the chest. The second time I changed it to right here (another spot on the chest). That’s part of a move that I do and, yeah. So, nah, I don’t think that was a penalty, but they did, so …”
The first foul on Flowers came on a third-and-10 play with just over 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, and nullified a sack that would have forced a Packers punt. The 5-yard penalty gave Green Bay an automatic first down, and three plays later Aaron Rodgers hit Allen Lazard for a 35-yard touchdown that cut the Lions’ lead to 22-20.
The Packers forced a punt on the ensuing drive, then ran the final 6:46 off the clock with the help of another illegal use of hands penalty on Flowers.
On third-and-4 from the Lions’ 16-yard line, Flowers drew a penalty for getting his hands in the neck area of Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari.
The Packers would have been forced to kick the go-ahead field goal with 1:36 to play if not for the penalty, leaving the Lions with enough time for one final possession. Instead, with the Lions out of timeouts, the Packers ran the clock down to 2 seconds before sending Mason Crosby on for the final kick.
Referee Clete Blakeman, in a pool report, said umpire Jeff Rice threw both penalty flags.
“The last one was really the only one I’ve discussed with him,” Blakeman said. “Basically, it’s for illegal use of the hands, hands-to-the-face foul. To be a foul, we basically need some forceful contact that’s prolonged to the head and neck area of the defender. So in his mind he had pinned him back, it was prolonged, and that’s what created the foul.”
Flowers said he used a technique he has long used as a pass rusher, and even changed his hand placement after picking up the first foul.
“They saw something different than what actually happened and they called what they thought they saw,” he said. “I was doing it all game. I didn’t know that was a flag to the chest, so I could change it to (another spot on the collar). They called it again.”
Asked if he felt like the game was stolen from him, Flowers said, “Uh, you know, it is what it is. I’m getting ready to get back to work.”
The Lions were called for eight penalties for 50 yards, two more penalties but almost the same yardage total (48 yards) as the Packers.
“We all know we can’t have those penalties, whatever it was that caused those to take place,” coach Matt Patricia said. “We’ll go back and take a look at it and make sure we’re coaching it better, make sure we’re doing the right things. Just can’t have them. We know how dangerous Aaron Rodgers is and how detrimental those penalties are.”
Walker voiced his displeasure with a unnecessary roughness penalty he incurred on the opening drive of the third quarter, when he hit receiver Geronimo Allison in the helmet with his helmet as he went for an interception.
“Awful. It was an awful call,” Walker said. “I feel like I went for the ball and just so happened we collided but I was looking for the ball. It was an awful call by them. It is what it is, though.”
Blakeman, in his pool report, said Walker’s play is a penalty regardless of intent, that when there’s helmet-to-helmet contact it’s always a foul.
“Extremely pissed off right now,” Walker said. “It is what it is. Disappointed. Hurt. We had that game. it’s going – I’m going to say the same shit, we should have won it. It is what it is, though. Got to bounce back.”
Asked who he was angry at, Walker said, “Honestly, just the whole game in itself.”
“I feel like we could have had a better game and we was supposed to come victorious with that game but Green Bay came to play,” he said. “There was some awful, awful calls, but we got to play through that. We got to overcome those, and so we didn’t, obviously, and we came up short.”
Told he might get fined for his comments, Walker said he didn’t care.
“Detroit vs. Everybody,” he said. “I’m saying it. Detroit vs. Everybody. It’s awful.”