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NFL Twitter Criticizes Refs After Controversial Ending of Commanders' Loss to Giants

Doric SamDecember 19, 2022

LANDOVER, MARYLAND - DECEMBER 18: Taylor Heinicke #4 of the Washington Commanders argues with officials during the fourth quarter against the New York Giants at FedExField on December 18, 2022 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Washington Commanders had the chance to complete an improbable comeback against the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football, but they were doomed by some questionable officiating.

Trailing by eight with under two minutes left in the game, Commanders quarterback Taylor Heinicke drove the team down to the Giants goal line. When it looked like rookie running back Brian Robinson punched in a touchdown, the referees threw a flag for illegal formation because star receiver Terry McLaurin was deemed to be not lined up properly.

While that call felt egregious since McLaurin told reporters after the game that he had confirmed the legality of his pre-snap alignment with the referee, fans at FedEx Field were even more incensed after Heinicke's fourth-down throw to the end zone.

The ball bounced off the hand of receiver Curtis Samuel, but a closer look showed a clear and obvious pass interference by Giants cornerback Darnay Holmes. Only this time, the referees swallowed their whistle, sealing a 20-12 loss for Washington in front of its home crowd.

The inconsistent officiating in the crucial moments of Sunday night's game drew the ire of NFL Twitter, as many unloaded on the referees after the game:

Michael Wilbon @RealMikeWilbon

So NFL officials simply are too afraid to call pass interference in the final seconds of games anymore? It's rather gutless, isn't it ?

Matthew Berry @MatthewBerryTMR

These refs should never work another game again. Samuel was literally mugged on that play.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Pass interference was NOT called on this play 🤔 <a href="https://t.co/MdiZnxTYAW">pic.twitter.com/MdiZnxTYAW</a>

Joe Theismann @Theismann7

Pass interference

Zach Dean @ZachDeanDBNJ

My guy MUGGED Samuel and refs said nope, not today.

Jimmy Spencer @JimmySpencer

That's now two NFL games that have ended like a Wrestlemania Main Event today.<br><br>Poked in eye. Refs looked away.

Shawne Merriman @shawnemerriman

Terrible missed pass interference call

Todd Fuhrman @ToddFuhrman

That's not pass interference eh? Interesting interpretation

Nick Kostos @TheKostos

Insane pass interference but whatever we'll take it!

Ebron85.eth @Ebron85

how is that NOT !!! PASS INTERFERENCE!!!!

Grant Paulsen @granthpaulsen

The penalty on Terry McLaurin (on a play where the Commanders scored a one-yard TD) looked iffy. He pointed at the ref to say he was on the line. Need more info on that. <br><br>The PBU on the Heinicke 4th down pass to Samuel looked like pretty obvious pass interference.

Robert Griffin III @RGIII

It took a no call of pass interference to stop the Heinicke Magic.

Greg Rosenstein @grosenstein

Can't get over that no-call. Clear flag. He was all over him.

Matthew Berry @MatthewBerryTMR

How is the NFL a multi multi billion dollar business but they won't hire full-time referees and they won't use technology to its full extent. This non call on Samuel, the fact they called the Raiders TD good… games are being decided by dead wrong calls.

Lake Lewis Jr @LakeLewis

A game doesn't come down to one play but damn that was text book pass interference. The referring in the NFL is at an all-time low. Too many new rules every year when the previous rules weren't mastered in the first place. League needs to get back to the basics of officiating.

Chris Brockman @chrisbrockman

NOT pass interference, for those scoring at home. <br><br>your boys in stripes had a really awful day <a href="https://twitter.com/NFLOfficiating?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLOfficiating</a> — get your crap together before the playoffs. <a href="https://t.co/fk4qmN4sVb">pic.twitter.com/fk4qmN4sVb</a>

CBS Sports HQ @CBSSportsHQ

"Don't ask me about the refereeing."<br><br>Ron Rivera frustrated when asked about the official's calls made in the final minutes of the Commanders-Giants game. <a href="https://t.co/huK6BqH7ev">pic.twitter.com/huK6BqH7ev</a>

Officiating in the NFL has been the subject of controversy throughout the 2022 season. Along with roughing the passer calls, pass interference penalties have fallen under a microscope because of the inconsistencies in how the rules are being enforced.

Washington had overcome an 11-point halftime deficit to make it a one-score game. Heinicke has proven to be able to come up clutch when needed, but he wasn't given a chance this time because the referees took over the spotlight.

The Commanders (7-6-1) are still hoping to make a push for the playoffs, so they will have to regroup quickly and turn the page to next week's game against the San Francisco 49ers (10-4) on Christmas Eve.