10/15/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 10/14/2019 23:43
And perhaps no one is feeling the weight of the moment more than the man himself.
'I didn't think hands to the chest was a penalty,' Flowers told reporters, via the Detroit Free Press. He followed that by demonstrating where he believed his hands were placed on Packers offensive lineman David Bakhtiari's chest in his efforts to rush Aaron Rodgers. 'That's part of a move that I do. So nah, I don't think that was a penalty but they did.'
Flowers' version of events obviously didn't match with the referees' judgment of what occurred during the most crucial point of the game.
With 1:45 left in the fourth quarter and the Packers threatening to score from the Detroit 16-yard line on third-and-4, Flowers was penalized for the forbidden manuever in an effort to dismiss Bakhtiari. The call helped set up an eight-yard rush from running back Jamaal Williams that led to a game-winning Mason Crosby field goal.
NFL official Clete Blakeman offered an explanation on the official ruling of both of Flowers' penalties post-game:
'The umpire threw both of them. 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 some forceful contact that's 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.'
Flowers' first call came after a Rodgers sack on third-and-10 with his team up 22-13 with 10:16 remaining. Three plays later, Rodgers hit receiver Allen Lazard with a 35-yard TD pass to cut the lead to two.
A short Lions series gave Green Bay the ball back with 6:53 to go. From there, Rodgers orchestrated a drive that gave the Packers their fourth red-zone trip and eventually led to the penalty heard 'round the city of Detroit.
'I actually changed the position of my hand 'cause it was to the chest initially which is right here,' Flowers said of the first call while grabbing the upper right side of chest pad with right hand, per WXYZ Detroit. 'I was doing it all game. I didn't know that was a flag to the chest. So I changed it and he called it again.'
Many expected Lions coach Matt Patricia to perhaps address the questionable call in his post-game press conference but Patricia took the high road.
'It's the head and neck area so I'm not really sure,' he said. 'They called it so obviously they saw it. We'll have to take a look at it.'
Whether or not a letter is issued in the near future further clarifying the calls remains to be seen. But the sting of a game that was that close to being a Lions win will likely stick with Patricia's group in the days to come.