Officials ignore obvious pass interference penalty on Rams that helps set up OT win in NFC championship

Yahoo Sports

The Los Angeles Rams caught a massive break late that helped them win Sunday’s NFC championship game when officials neglected to flag an obvious penalty that would have given the New Orleans Saints a chance to all but ice the game.

On 3rd-and-10 at the Rams 13-yard-line with 1:47 remaining, Saints quarterback Drew Brees looked to Tommylee Lewis down the sideline.

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Robey-Coleman runs through Lewis before ball arrives

Before he had a chance to make a play on the ball, Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman absolutely leveled him. Leading with his helmet, Robey-Coleman ran through Lewis, sending him crashing to the ground while the ball was still in the air.

Officials declined to call an obvious late penalty that would have set up the Saints with a prime opportunity to ice the NFC championship. (AP)
Officials declined to call an obvious late penalty that would have set up the Saints with a prime opportunity to ice the NFC championship. (AP)

It was obvious pass interference in addition to being an illegal helmet-to-helmet hit. But there was no flag thrown for either violation. The Saints ended up kicking a field goal to take a 23-20 lead with 1:45 remaining.

Penalty would have set Saints up in prime position

Had pass interference been called, New Orleans would have been set up with first-and-goal around the six yard-line with 1:45 remaining and the Rams holding one timeout. They could have run down the bulk of the clock and kicked a field goal or taken a shot at a touchdown.

But instead, they were forced to settle for three points and leave enough time on the clock for the Rams to respond with a 48-yard field goal from Greg Zuerlein to force overtime.

Rams win in overtime

The Rams went on to win in the extra session when Zuerlein hit a 57-yard field goal to send the Rams to the Super Bowl.

Payton said that the NFL confirmed to him that it was a blown call after the game, according to WWLTV.

“I don’t know if there was ever more obvious pass interference,” Payton said.

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