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The Washington Commanders got hosed in the final seconds of their 20-12 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday night. Former NFL referee Terry McCauley, like everyone else who watched the most pivotal play of the game, agrees that the officiating missed a clear penalty.
All in all, it was disastrous seven seconds for the Commanders.
With the ball on the Giants’ one-yard line with 1:03 left in the game, Washington running back Brian Robinson got into the end zone to give the Commanders a shot at tying the game up with a two-point conversion.
Or so he thought.
The touchdown was nullified thanks to an illegal formation penalty on Terry McLaurin who wasn’t lined up on the line of scrimmage before the snap.
While the penalty was harsh, the non-call two plays later was far worse.
After a failed attempt on third down, it became a do-or-die moment for the Commanders with 56 seconds left on the clock.
After his offensive line gave him all the time in the world to make a play, Taylor Heinicke tried to pick out Curtis Samuel in the end zone. Giants cornerback Darnay Holmes was draped all over the Washington wideout, but no flag was thrown.
Holmes’ action on Samuel was textbook pass interference, but the officiating crew didn’t see his arms all over the Commanders’ receiver in real-time.
McCauley, who spent 19 years as an official in the NFL, couldn’t believe the officials kept their flags in their pockets on the play.
“It’s clearly a foul,” McCauley, now NBC rules analyst said, after the game. “He grabs his arm, he plays through the back, it’s clearly before the ball gets there. This is defensive pass interference and it really should be called whether it’s the end of the game, beginning of the game, it doesn’t matter.”
The no-call on the pass interference and the flag for illegal formation was a tough look for the officiating crew in D.C., and it seemed like Washington head coach Ron Rivera couldn’t believe what he saw in the final seconds of the game either.
“Don’t ask me about the refereeing,” Rivera told a reporter during his postgame presser. “Because I can’t answer the question.”
Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris