Officials miss delay of game before Justin Tucker’s record-setting, game-winning field goal

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It’s great for Ravens kicker Justin Tucker that he set the NFL record on Sunday with a 66-yarder at the end of the game to help Baltimore beat the Lions, 17-16. What’s not great is that, per the NFL rules, the Ravens should have penalized five yards on the previous play, and Tucker should have either had to try a 71-yard field goal, or the Ravens would perhaps try a Hail Mary to win the game.

Here was the situation. With 26 second left in the game, the Lions completely blew coverage on this fourth-and-19 throw from Lamar Jackson to Sammy Watkins, which turned into a 36-yard gain, and the ball at the Detroit 48-yard line.

Then, Jackson spiked the ball to stop the clock with seven seconds left, and threw the ball out of bounds with six second left. But it was what happened before the throwaway that caught our attention in the moment.

Yes, Jackson was given a full two seconds after the play clock expired. That should have been a delay of game call and a five-yard penalty. Since the game clock was not moving, there would not have been a ten-second runoff to end the game, but asking Tucker to kick a 71-yard field goal when his 66-yarder just barely made it, bouncing off the bottom of the upright, would have been a rather large ask.

Scott Novak’s crew has some explaining to do here. Gene Steratore, the former NFL official who now works for CBS Sports, tried to excuse the mistake, to no avail.

You will occasionally see officials give quarterbacks the benefit of a half-second or so in instances like these, but again, this was a full two seconds.

Were the Lions responsible for their own demise with that fourth-and-19 stinker? Yes. Was it weird that the Lions had no timeouts left when Tucker made the kick, with nothing left to try and ice him with? Sure. But to have a game turn on this kind of ineptitude is just a bad look for the NFL.