Lions-Cowboys ends in controversy as penalty thwarts Detroit’s go-ahead 2-point conversion

Lions-Cowboys ends in controversy as penalty thwarts Detroit’s go-ahead 2-point conversion

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The and Dallas Cowboys game was mired in controversy on Saturday after a penalty thwarted a potential game-winning 2-point conversion play.

The play would have given the Lions a 21-20 lead and likely the victory. But officials said Lions offensive lineman Tyler Decker wasn’t an eligible receiver when he caught the pass that would have put Detroit up one point with 23 seconds remaining. Two plays later, Detroit’s pass attempt was incomplete and Dallas .

Video appeared to show Decker and Penei Sewell talking with referee Brad Allen and backup tackle Dan Skipper running over to Allen as well. As Skipper runs over, Allen runs as if someone had already reported in. Skipper was the one deemed to have reported in.

Jared Goff talks to the ref

Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff talks with umpire Duane Heydt after a 2-point conversion play during the Dallas Cowboys game, Saturday, Dec. 30, 2023, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

In the postgame, the explanations contradicted each other. Lions quarterback Jared Goff said he was sure Decker reported as an eligible receiver and Skipper had not. Allen said Skipper reported to him as an eligible receiver but then went to the tackle spot, which meant he didn’t have to report at all. Decker was already in the game.

“That conversation is where (Skipper) reports to me, and I then go to the defensive team, and I say to them ‘(Skipper) has reported as an eligible receiver,’ so they will be aware of who has reported and then I return to my position,” Allen said in the pool report. “That was the conversation with the defensive line.”

Head coach Dan Campbell was agitated after the game and suggested that he talked about this scenario with officials before the game.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” he said. “I explain everything pregame to a tee, OK? I did that.”

Jared Goff and Taylor Decker

Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff, left, talks with offensive tackle Taylor Decker before running a 2-point conversion play against the Dallas Cowboys, Saturday, Dec. 30, 2023, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

Decker said he and Campbell talked about the scenario.

“All I really want to say on it, just so I don’t get myself into trouble, is I did exactly what coach told me to do,” Decker said. “It was my understanding, too, Dan brings up the possibility of those sorts of plays pregame, so I did what I was told to do. Did how we did it in practice all week.”

Goff pleaded Detroit’s case as officials discussed what they were going to call.

“Very confused,” Goff said. “What I do know, and I don’t know if I’ll get fined for this, but I do know that Decker reported. I do know that Dan Skipper did not. I do know that they said that Dan Skipper did.”

NFL fans were not happy with some calling for Allen to be fired or demoted.

The game could affect playoff standings.

Dan Campbell after the game

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell speaks to reporters following the Dallas Cowboys game, Dec. 30, 2023, in Arlington. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

A win for the Lions could have catapulted them to the top of the NFC standings and put them in a position to get a first-round bye. For , they remain at the top among wild-card teams. They clinched a playoff spot a few weeks ago.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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