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Out of challenges, Lions lose a touchdown on blown call

Lions Packers Football

Detroit Lions’ Titus Young leaps in the crowd to give a fan the ball after catching a touchdown pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)


The Detroit Lions lost what should have been a touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford to Titus Young today in Green Bay when a bad call on the field was compounded by the fact that they were out of challenges already.

Young caught the pass in the corner of the end zone, got one foot down and clearly dragged his other foot, for what should have been a touchdown. But the official missed the second foot touching down and ruled the pass incomplete.

Lions coach Jim Schwartz was irate, but there was nothing he could do about it: The Lions were out of challenges because Schwartz had already challenged twice and lost one of those two. Schwartz called a timeout after the play, apparently just because he wanted time to yell at the officials. (The challenge Schwartz lost was very close: Kickoff returner Stefan Logan appeared to be down before he lost control of the ball on the play in question, but the referee ruled that there was no conclusive replay angle that showed Logan down before the ball came loose. So the ruling on the field of a fumble stood.)

If Young’s catch had been ruled a touchdown on the field, it would have been reviewed automatically. But because it was ruled incomplete on the field, it could only be reviewed by a coach’s challenge, which the Lions didn’t have. Coaches can only get a third challenge if both of their first two were correct.

Detroit ended up settling for a field goal on the possession. The Lions trail the Packers 24-19.