Referee Jeff Triplette appeared to call a penalty on the wrong team Sunday at Ford Field, continuing a rocky year of high-profile calls for his crew.
The latest incident occurred with 7:55 remaining in the second quarter. A flag flew while Detroit Lions running back Dwayne Washington finished a 14-yard gain. Triplette could be seen checking with umpire Shawn Smith about the penalty, then announced an illegal hands to the face foul against Lions center Graham Glasgow.
The replay, however, clearly showed Chicago Bears defensive tackle Eddie Goldman putting his left hand under Glasgow's facemask and pushing back for an extended period. Eventually Goldman added his right hand as well. Glasgow's hands never came close to Goldman's head during the play, almost all of which was visible on the television replay.
The play was not reviewable under NFL rules.
Triplette's crew was also involved in a controversial fumble recovery in a Week 4 game between the Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins. On that play, line judge Sarah Thomas appeared to be looking for the ball to award possession at a time when Browns running back Duke Johnson already was holding the ball above his head.
NFL senior vice president of officiating Dean Blandino later acknowledged the "bad visual" of the call but said that Thomas saw a Redskins player recover the ball first before Johnson pulled it away. There was no evidence of that explanation on video.
Meanwhile, Triplette's crew has been responsible for six of the 11 player ejections from games this season.
All officials are graded on every play of every game and the league uses those evaluations to determine playoff assignments.