HomeFootball DirtPuka Nacua was held by Cameron Sutton without penalty

Puka Nacua was held by Cameron Sutton without penalty

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The Detroit Lions deserve credit. They certainly earned their first playoff win in over three decades over the Los Angeles Rams. To do it over longtime franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford should mean the world to Dan Campbell’s bunch. But most playoff wins usually come with a tinge of luck.

Sunday’s Wild Card affair in Detroit was no different.

With the Rams driving late in the fourth quarter, Stafford had Puka Nacua open — who dominated the Lions’ secondary all night — on a key third and long. Nacua unfortunately couldn’t come down with the catch, and the Rams punted the ball away, never to see it again in their eventual 24-23 loss.

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There was just one problem. It seemed pretty apparent that Lions’ defensive back Cameron Sutton got away with an obvious hold of Nacua as Stafford launched the ball in his direction. I’m talking full-on jersey hold and a grip on his hips. But it’s the playoffs, referees will probably keep their whistles to themselves more than usual, and the Lions had homefield advantage.

So … sorry, Rams.

That’s not how it should work — the rules shouldn’t change or be open to interpretation just because it’s a playoff setting — but that seems to be what happened here.

Who knows what would’ve happened if Sutton would’ve been called for a penalty? The Lions clearly had no answer for Nacua and a gunslinging Stafford. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Rams come away with a field goal, at minimum, forcing the Lions’ offense to pull out all the stops on their final possession.

But I suppose credit is due to Sutton. Nacua was sauteeing the Lions’ defense. With the game on the line, Sutton understood that if he wasn’t cheating against a locked-in elite receiver, he probably wasn’t trying.

NFL fans on Twitter couldn’t believe Sutton got away with holding Nacua

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