Among the things that went wrong in the Vikings 21-16 loss to the Packers on Sunday was an offensive pass interference penalty that negated a 3-yard touchdown by Stefon Diggs.
Kalyn Kahler of The Monday Morning Quarterback was at Lambeau Field and recapped the flag on running back Dalvin Cook that proved costly for Minnesota. She wrote:
In short: the Vikings fell victim to the offseason rule change that makes pass interference calls and non-calls reviewable by instant replay. This was the first time that a touchdown had been reversed after the booth called for a review with less than two minutes left in the half.
As Vikings players celebrated their second touchdown, replay official Terri Valenti initiated a review of the play from the press box. Down on the field, players, and even some officials, were confused. Referee John Hussey accidentally left his microphone on, which caught him saying, “Tell me why we're stopping the game, please.”
Kahler explained that the rule change stipulates that “any interference-related reviews are subject to the coaches challenge system for the first 28 minutes of the half, but in the final two minutes of each half, a pass interference review is initiated by the replay official.”
Cook, who racked up a career-high 154 rushing yards, said after the game that he couldn’t respond to questions about the call because he hadn’t even known at the time that he was the guilty party.
“I don’t know. I can’t tell you. I didn’t even know it was on me, to be real,” Cook said.
Kahler described the play:
Cook aligned in a three-receiver bunch to the right of the formation and made contact with two different defenders on the play as he ran across the action to the left. The second player he made contact with was Packers safety Darnell Savage, who was running in the opposite direction, towards the area of the end zone where Diggs made the play. It looked like a typical pick play in the red zone, many of which go uncalled when receivers make contact with defenders. But eligible receivers are not allowed to make contact with defending players more than a yard beyond the line of scrimmage before the ball is caught.
According to Kahler, FOX Sports Rules Analyst Dean Blandino was caught off guard himself that a review was initiated “because Cook’s contact is in a gray area where it might be incidental.”
Senior Vice President of Officiating Al Riveron gave the following explanation after the game:
“Every time, by rule, there’s a score of a turnover, here in New York we automatically take a look at all aspects of the play, which this year includes offensive and defensive pass interference. After we looked at the play, we saw clear and obvious visual evidence that No. 33 [Cook] significantly hinders the opponent while the ball is still in the air.”
Click here to read Kahler’s piece in its entirety.
View images as the Vikings take on the Packers at Lambeau Field during Week 2.
CBS Sports doles out game-day grades across the NFL
With tonight’s Monday Night Football contest between the Jets and Browns the only Week 2 game remaining, CBS Sports’ John Breech handed out grades to every team that played Sunday.
Breech gave Minnesota a C-plus for its comeback effort against Green Bay, saying the Vikings “deserve a ton of credit for fighting back” after going down 21-0 early in the game. Breech wrote:
Dalvin Cook rumbled for 154 yards, while the Vikings defense didn’t allow a single point on Green Bay’s last 11 possessions. While [its] defense made the right adjustments against Aaron Rodgers in the second half, Minnesota never found an answer for running back Aaron Jones, who amassed 150 all-purpose yards and a score on 27 touches. The Vikings will also need to work on Kirk Cousins’ accuracy, with Cousins failing to complete half of his 32 attempts while throwing a crucial end zone interception to Kevin King with six minutes left.
Breech gave the Packers, conversely, a B grade for their home-opener performance. He said the following of the division rivals, whom the Vikings will not see again until Week 16:
After holding the Bears to a field goal in Week 1, the Packers held Minnesota to just 16 points and 4-of-13 efficiency on third down. And while they did make the critical plays to pull out the win, Green Bay did allow three big plays that allowed the Vikings to get back into the game.
[Packers quarterback Aaron] Rodgers, who finished the game with just 209 yards passing, has yet to truly settle into new Head Coach Matt LaFleur’s offense. Green Bay’s rushing attack took a big step forward, however, as Jones looks like he will bring balance and stability to the Packers offense if the passing game stalls.
The Bears and Lions defeated the Broncos and Chargers, respectively. Breech gave Chicago a B and Detroit a B-minus.