It was a play that had Detroit Lions fans scratching their heads Sunday, asking what happened against the Tennessee Titans.
On 4th-and-inches in overtime, the Lions looked to continue their quest for a valiant, come-from-behind win in Music City -- but something went drastically wrong: Center Dominic Raiola accidentally snapped the ball to quarterback Shaun Hill instead of keeping with the plan to draw the Titans offside, which would have resulted in a first down, or, at the very least, a timeout prior to a Lions field goal.
That didn't happen, and Detroit lost a game it had no business even competing in (due to several miscues), 44-41.
"I will take all the blame people want to give me," Raiola told the Detroit News. "I know the staff and this locker room has my back and that's the most important thing. You want to question how hard I work, turn on that film and watch me play."
Raiola later added: "We were trying to get up on the ball and run a play that wasn't supposed to be snapped. I totally read Shaun's lips the wrong way. I ran a fullback dive. It was just mis-execution on my part. I thought it was a dive."
Some speculated that Hill -- who threw two touchdown passes in the final 18 seconds of regulation, including a 46-yard Hail Mary to Titus Young that sent the game into overtime -- was trying to play hero.
I had a Facebook conversation with former Michigan State Spartans and NFL quarterback Tony Banks earlier Monday. Banks wasn't sure what happened during the play, but he said he would have never called his own number in that situation; he didn't think Hill would have done it, either.
Raiola's explanation makes much more sense than Hill going gun-ho at the Titans. Whether Raiola is covering up his quarterback's own mistake is irrelevant at this point; he's shouldering the blame.
That botched snap was hardly the reason why the Lions lost Sunday, although it was the final play before the loss. The secondary was horrid, giving up 60- and 70-yard plays at will. The special teams weren't exactly great, either. Tommie Campbell took a punt-return-turned-touchdown-pass 65 yards, embarrassing the Lions coverage team.
Sunday's game was bad, to say the least. But at least someone took the hit for it.
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