Lions defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson made his presence felt in last night’s game when he picked Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott up and slammed him back down to the ground. The problem? He was flagged for a 15 yard unnecessary roughness penalty.
Today's @NFL this is a 15 yard penalty.
— Austin Barbour (@Austin_Barbour) December 27, 2016
ESPN announcers Jon Gruden and Sean McDonough disagreed with the penalty.
"I didn't see anything there, that's just good defense." – Gruden
"That's a joke. That's terrible." – Sean pic.twitter.com/vYGPRoKYQo
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) December 27, 2016
Referee John Hussey explained the penalty as “after the play”, also explaining that Robinson unnecessarily threw Elliott to the ground. It was an untimely penalty for the Lions, who instead of facing a second and 10 from their 40 instead had to line up against first down from their 25. Although it is widely believed that the play was not worthy of drawing a flag, Elliott has a different theory.
“He was being dirty all game,” Elliott told the Star-Telegram. “I think he was a little salty from that Sugar Bowl win we got against him in New Orleans two years ago. It’s whatever. Let him do what he wants to do.”
Elliott was referring to the 2015 Sugar Bowl, in which his Ohio State Buckeyes beat Robinson’s Alabama Crimson Tide by a score of 42-35, and advanced to the national championship game. Elliott ran for 230 yards and two touchdowns in the Sugar Bowl victory, and ran for 80 yards and two touchdowns in their first NFL matchup.
Robinson seemed less than impressed with the Cowboys’ efforts after the game, despite their 42-21 victory.
“They’re alright,” he said. “They did some alright stuff that worked. Nothing special. They ain’t nothing special.”
Although the game was tied 21-21 at halftime, the Lions failed to score in the second half, while giving up 21 more points.