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LANDOVER, Md. — A game with major playoff implications ended in controversy as the Washington Commanders contested a penalty that negated a touchdown and challenged a pass interference call on a fourth-down throw into the end zone in the final minute. A 20-12 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday night.

The Giants (8-5-1) lead the sixth seed in the playoffs, while Washington (7-6-1) remains in the seventh and final spot, but now faces a tougher road to get just halfway there. game leads over the Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions.

The Chiefs were upset by an illegal formation penalty on wide receiver Terry McLaurin that nullified a 1-yard Brian Robinson run with 1:03 left.

Two plays later, Washington said wide receiver Curtis Samuel was intercepted on a fourth-down throw in the end zone. No call was made.

“Don’t ask me about the refereeing,” Washington coach Ron Rivera said in his postgame press conference. “I cannot answer the question.”

Washington was also upset by an offensive pass penalty that wiped out a 2-point conversion in the third quarter. But the final sequence stood out as Washington was out of chances.

McLaurin was upset because he said he wasn’t lined up any differently than at other times in the game.

During the replay, the official on that side signaled for McLaurin to step up. MacLaurin scurried away.

“When I got up, I checked to see if I was OK, and he said I was,” McLaurin said. “I’m not trying to get penalized, we had other chances, it’s hard to go down like that.”

McLaurin was seen pointing the finger at the official. He said he heard the official say he was fine. But he also said that he cannot leave it to the officials.

“It’s disappointing because I pride myself on paying attention to detail,” McLaurin said. “During the game, you don’t want to make a mistake that hurts your team. I wanted to make sure I was good and I felt I was with his approval. I take ownership and have to make sure. it’s not close, but it’s kind of tough. Sometimes your helmet gets bent and they can call an offside.”

Referee John Hussey said he had not seen any exchange between McLaurin and the official prior to the match.

“What I’ve been told and what’s confirmed is that the ball was snapped at the half-yard line and he lined up a yard back at the 1.5-yard line,” Hussey told a pool reporter. “In order for him to be considered legal, he should break the belt, the waist of the center, and he did not break the waist of the center, that’s why the fine was imposed, because he was not in a legal formation.”

Two plays later, on fourth-and-goal from the 6, quarterback Taylor Heinicke turned and then threw a pass to Samuel in the middle of the end zone. Corner Darnay Holmes was behind Samuel.

Heinike said: “Oh yeah,” when asked if he thinks there should be a transition to intervention.

“That man has his arm around his neck,” Heinicke said, adding that the commanders could not blame the officials for the loss.

“I can’t control it,” Samuel added. “I can only try to play when the ball is in the air. I’m not a referee, I can’t do anything about it.”

As Hussey explained, “Passport interference is judgmental. For officials, it didn’t turn into what they thought was a restriction, so they didn’t call it that.”

The Giants had a different view of what essentially constituted the end of the game. That allowed them to escape the decider with a victory and increase their chances of making the postseason to 90%.

“It was a good game,” Giants coach Brian Daboll said quietly. “Good presentation”.

Holmes was not loyal if it was interference. He was already called for holding earlier in the game, and he leads the Giants after being flagged eight times already this season.

“I haven’t even watched the play yet. I just know the ball is broken. We’ll see when I watch film, but hey, refs have eyes,” Holmes said. “They’re going to call what they’re going to call, we just live by their call, there are plays I wish they didn’t call and there are plays I knew I did something and they call it.

“At the end of the day, the refs make the calls and we’re swayed by that.”


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