During the Dallas Cowboys’ 24-20 playoff victory against the Detroit Lions, a pass interference that was called on Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens was picked up with no explanation on a 3rd and 1 play.
Hitchens failed to “play the football” and was in Pettigrew’s face. There was also contact. Not playing the football is a major indicator of defensive pass interference.
“Face-guarding” is illegal in college football but permissible in the NFL. The question is the contact, but face-guarding often leads to pass interference calls because of ensuing contact.
This negated the first down that was awarded the Lions, and one play later, the Lions shanked a ten-yard punt. The Cowboys, who were down 20-17, erased the deficit and won the game.
This was pivotal and a crucial turning point in Sunday’s matchup. The Cowboys will play the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round this weekend.