Referee Brad Allen’s crew blew two more crucial calls late in Lions-Cowboys game

NFL Referee Brad Allen had already been at the center of more controversy this season than any NFL referee should want. Then, there was the illegal touch pass called on the Detroit Lions with 27 seconds left in Saturday night’s game against the Dallas Cowboys. The two-point conversion that wasn’t likely came about because Allen and his crew got the offensive tackle reporting eligible wrong between Taylor Decker and Dan Skipper. Had Decker’s catch been legal as it should have been, the Lions would have had a 21-20 lead instead of a 20-19 deficit.

But we’ve already gone full Zapruder on that one.

Now, let’s get into two more crucial calls Allen’s crew blew late in the game.

With 2:05 left in the game, Cowboys running back Tony Pollard hit a seven-yard gain on first-and-10 from the Detroit 29-yard line. This was the play after Jared Goff’s interception to safety Donovan Wilson, and at this point, the Cowboys could run the clock down and seal a victory up 17-13.

But Allen called tight end Peyton Hendershot for tripping, which negated the run and put the ball 15 yards back at the Detroit 44-yard line. Mike McCarthy’s three-play passing sequence, which took just 11 seconds off the clock, followed, and that was its own disaster. But let’s focus on the tripping call.

Here’s the All-22.

Hendershot was facing Lions edge-rusher Aidan Hutchinson on the play, and there was an attempt at tripping. But the overhead and end zone angles show that it was Hutchinson who made the attempt. On the overhead view, you can dee down judge Sarah Thomas throw the flag from the lower sideline. How Allen managed to extrapolate tripping on Hendershot is a mystery. Could Hendershot been busted for a hold? Maybe… but had this been called correctly, the worst that would have happened for the Cowboys was offsetting penalties and replaying the down. Not a 15-yard deficit that changed the complexion of the Cowboys’ drive.

Then, with 48 seconds left in the game, the Lions had second-and-10 at the Dallas 26-yard line. Receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown ran a seam route from the left slot, and he was clearly impeded by cornerback Jourdan Lewis — that’s a nice way of saying that Lewis was all over St. Brown before the ball got there. There was no call for pass interference. The Lions converted on the next play with a Goff pass to tight end Sam LaPorta which took the ball to the Dallas 11-yard line, but this was about as obvious a pass interference as you’ll ever see.

Now, go back to Allen’s performance in the Kansas City Chiefs’ 27-19 Week 13 loss to the Green Bay Packers. Allen’s crew clearly missed an obvious pass interference on Green Bay cornerback Carrington Valentine with 19 seconds left in the game, so we’ve seen these late-game issues before.

As ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported in early December, Allen’s crew was already under scrutiny for a no-call the week before.

With 4:07 remaining in the second quarter, on second-and-9 at the Falcons’ 23-yard line, Saints quarterback Derek Carr threw a pass to running back Alvin Kamara, who was being defended by linebacker Kaden Elliss. The pass fell incomplete on a play in which Elliss never turned around to defend the ball, but Allen’s crew did not call pass interference.

The Superdome and the Saints organization were furious at the lack of a pass interference call on the play, which prompted the Saints to kick a field goal and trim their deficit to 14-9 with 3:54 remaining in the first half. The Saints (5-7) ultimately lost the game 24-15 and trail the first-place Falcons (6-6) in the NFC South.

Here’s that play, where you can see that Elliss was face-guarding Kamara and did not have his head turned to the ball. At the end of the overhead film, you can also see that this happened about five yards away from one of Allen’s officials.

Whatever this “increased scrutiny” was supposed to be, it certainly hasn’t helped matters.

So, we’re left with the larger discussion here. It’s time to focus out from which team Brad Allen may or may not have screwed in the Cowboys-Lions game. It’s time to ask whether Brad Allen is competent to officiate NFL games.

And the answer, clearly, is no.

Story originally appeared on Touchdown Wire