Oct. 16 (UPI) -- NFL executive Troy Vincent said referees should not have called a critical penalty during the Detroit Lions' loss to the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football.
Vincent, the league's vice president of football operations, admitted to the mistake when speaking to reporters at the Fall League Meeting Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Lions defender Trey Flowers was cited for two illegal hands to the face penalties in the fourth quarter of the 23-22 loss at Green Bay.
The first flag came after the Lions sacked Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, resulting in a crucial first down. Rodgers threw a touchdown pass three plays later, getting the Packers within two points of tying the game. Green Bay forced a Detroit punt on the next drive and Rodgers was again leading the Packers down the field when referees called another penalty on Flowers -- resulting in another first down and allowing Green Bay to take time off the clock before hitting the game-winning field goal.
"It was a late night [Monday]," Vincent told reporters. "There was a pool report that I'm assuming most have read. There was one that was clear that we support. And there was another that when you look at it, you review the play, not something that you want to see called. In particular the pass rush. One that you could support, the other one clearly after you review it, you've seen some [slow motion replay], the foul wasn't there."
Referee Clete Blakeman was interviewed following the game.
"The umpire threw both of them," Blakeman said. "The last one was really the only one I've discussed with him. Basically, it's for illegal use of the hands, hands-to-the-face foul. To be a foul, we basically need to see some forceful contact that prolonged to the head and neck area of the defender.
"So, in his mind he had pinned him back, it was prolonged, and that's what created the foul."
Lions coach Matt Patricia declined to criticize the officiating when speaking with reporters Tuesday.
"I think if you go through a game and you're relying on the officials to tell you whether or not you won, I don't really think you're going to turn out in a favorable manner, more times than not," Patricia said. "So for us, it's about trying to go out and do the things that we can control to win the game and do that better."
The Lions host the Minnesota Vikings in another NFC North clash at 1 p.m. EDT Sunday at Ford Field in Detroit.