Dean Blandino Broke Down Mistakes By The Lions And The Ref On Controversial Two-Point Conversion Penalty

The Dallas Cowboys escaped Saturday night with a controversial 20-19 win over the Lions after Detroit went for two and the win after a touchdown in the final minute. Their initial two-point conversion try was a pass to lineman Taylor Decker that seemingly won them the game, but he was flagged for illegal touching, as referee Brad Allen said he had failed to report as eligible.

However, as ESPN’s cameras showed, both Decker and Penei Sewell — who was also lined up as an eligible receiver — went over to Allen prior to the play, with Dan Skipper also running over to Allen at the same time. Allen thought Skipper was reporting as eligible, as he had a few times previously, and told the Cowboys that was the case, flagging Decker for catching the ball and Skipper for being covered up on the play. It appears it was a massive misunderstanding of who was reporting eligible, and on Sunday morning, FOX’s rules expert Dean Blandino broke down exactly what happened and why he felt the Lions and Allen both shared some responsibility for the mistake.

As Blandino notes, players have to clearly identify as eligible, usually by wiping the front of their jersey along with a verbal indicator, and while Decker and Sewell go over to Allen, they don’t make an obvious gesture. At the same time, he says Allen can’t be in a rush in this instance and has to get this right given the situation, as he seems to almost assume 70 is reporting eligible because he runs over — which may have been a bit of gamesmanship to keep the Cowboys a little confused as to who was actually going to be eligible.

In a postgame pool report, Allen explained his view of the situation and didn’t feel Sewell and Decker were declaring themselves as eligible, even with the video showing them clearly coming over to him prior to the play.

While the Lions certainly could’ve made things a bit clearer, it’s a poor job by Allen of not paying close enough attention to what he was being told that quite possibly cost Detroit the game — it must be said that if Allen had gotten it right and had 68 and 58 as eligible, he would’ve told the Cowboys and they would’ve likely defended the play a bit differently. The entire saga won’t help the view of many that NFL officiating has gotten worse recently, as making that kind of mistake in that moment is pretty dreadful.