Late in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game, with the Lions leading 24-17, Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford threw a third-down incompletion. But the Browns’ celebration was short-lived because Cleveland linebacker Quentin Groves was flagged for roughing the passer. The Lions benefited from the automatic first down and scored a touchdown three plays later, putting the game away.
The Browns complained that it was a bad call, and now the NFL has tacitly confirmed that they were right by declining to fine Groves for roughing the passer. The league office apparently didn’t think Groves did anything wrong on the play.
This is the second time that the league office has disagreed with the officials on the field regarding a roughing the passer call from that game: Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was fined for a hit on Brandon Weeden that was not flagged. The Browns are left to wonder what would have happened if both of those calls had gone the other way.