1. Roughing the passer called against Giants DL Dexter Lawrence
You already knew the Dexter Lawrence play was going to be No. 1 on our list. This wasn’t just the worst call from the Vikings-Giants showdown, or the Wild Card Round. Nope, this might be one of the worst calls you’ll ever see. With the game on the line and the Vikings pinned back deep in their own territory, Lawrence was flagged for roughing the passer.
On no planet should this EVER be called roughing the passer. Lawrence may have made slight contact with Cousins’ helmet, but he was hit with the 15-yard penalty for ‘throwing’ Cousins to the ground. We could watch the clip of Lawrence tackling Cousins 1,000,000 times and we’ll never be convinced this should be flagged.
This was such a terrible call that even Mike Pereira couldn’t believe what he was seeing on the live FOX broadcast. We understand that you need to protect that quarterback, but what was Lawrence expected to do on this play? Sexy Dexy even released Cousins to make sure he didn’t fall down in any kind of an agressive way. It’s not like he tossed him down with force or anything.
We’ve seen these roughing the passer penalties called during the regular season. They were inexcusable then and they’re even worse in the playoffs. Imagine had the Vikings gone down the field and scored to tie things up, or go for two to win it.
Then, Brian Daboll would have been even more livid than he was. Thankfully, Lawrence and Co. were able to stop the Vikings soon after that and seal the win, but the call overall was embarrassing. The refs must be better the rest of the way.