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Marvin Lewis: Replacement ref didn’t know defenseless receiver rule

Marvin Lewis

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis yells during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)


After Bengals safety Taylor Mays was called for a personal foul for a hit on Packers tight end Tom Crabtree, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said the blame lies not with Mays, but with the replacement official who botched the call.

It was exactly shoulder-to-shoulder. Unfortunately, the guy that made the call’s explanation was not correct,” Lewis said.

Lewis was careful not to go too far in criticizing the replacement officials, but he said the official who threw the flag on Mays didn’t know the rules about hits on defenseless players.

“They are getting better,” Lewis said. “Hopefully, it will get closer and closer to what we need. His understanding was that the player was a defenseless receiver. He was, but you are allowed to hit a defenseless receiver shoulder-to-shoulder. There is no such thing as a defenseless player unless he is hit in the head with your head. It was a misinterpretation of the rule. I know they are working hard. The league is working hard to get this stuff corrected. They are working overtime on it actually. It’ll get better and better.”

Mays said he thought the hit was clean, and even Crabtree, who suffered a shoulder injury in the collision, agreed that it was the wrong call.

The entire NFL has to hope that Lewis is right that the replacement officials will get better -- and soon, as they’re less than two weeks away from calling games that actually count.