What's With The Officiating?

The Vikings are getting tired of sending in evidence of bad calls to the NFL office, but it got worse on Sunday when it appeared Randy Moss should have been the beneficiary of two interference calls with no penalties enforced.

The Vikings have argued with the league office for years that game officials treat receiver Randy Moss differently.

They've sent examples of plays they believe Moss was interfered with but no penalty was called. They have two more doozies to send to New York after Sunday's 24-14 victory over the Lions at the Metrodome.

With 8:12 left in the second quarter, quarterback Daunte Culpepper threw deep to Moss in the end zone. Safety Brian Walker simply ran over Moss, knocking him to the ground, and intercepted the ball. Moss sprained an ankle on the play.

With 13:08 left in the third period, safety Corey Harris pushed Moss to the ground on a deep incompletion to Moss inside the Detroit 20. Two plays later, the Lions returned a Moe Williams fumble for a touchdown to tie the game at 7-7.

Harris' push was the worst of the two. A flag was thrown, but waved off because the official called illegal contact while Culpepper was out of the pocket. Had Moss been pushed to the ground while the ball was in the air, the penalty would have stood.

Coach Mike Tice wasn't satisfied with that explanation.

"We'll just have to call (the NFL), like we always do on Monday, and get an explanation," Tice said. "It doesn't help any; it really doesn't. We've sent very little stuff (to the league office) the last couple weeks. It's not worth it anymore."

Moss, who caught five passes for 56 yards, was penalized twice on one drive in the first quarter. He was called for taunting after spiking a ball out of bounds after a catch. The ball hit cornerback Dre' Bly in the stomach.

Moss deserved that one.

Moss later was penalized for offensive pass interference while battling cornerback Dre' Bly in the end zone. That one was questionable.

"I can only imagine how frustrated he gets," Williams said. "We're looking at plays in which the officials call pass interference on our defense. But the same exact play, they don't call it when it happens to Randy. I guess that's the price Randy pays for being at the top."

  • RB Moe Williams went 183 touches this season before turning the ball over. He was stripped of the ball while trying to get extra yardage. The Lions returned the fumble 80 yards for a touchdown. "Hey, Moe fights his butt off," guard Chris Liwienski said. "He's fighting for extra yards and it's a shame we lost the ball. But Moe does more than enough good things to make up for an occasional mishap."

  • SS Brian Russell had his best game in month. He looked confident filling holes in run support and was close in pass coverage. He had eight solo tackles, nine overall, and a pass defense on a deep throw.

  • DT Chris Hovan had as many pass deflections (two) as tackles. Hovan sprained his right ankle, but had it taped tighter and returned.

  • G Chris Liwienski had a devastating block on a 19-yard screen pass to Moe Williams. Williams reached the Detroit 1 because of the block. But Liwienski then committed penalties on back-to-back plays, causing the Vikings to settle for a 24-yard field goal. Liwienski was called for a false start and being downfield on a pass. The Vikings had 11 penalties, the third consecutive week with 10 or more.

  • TE Jim Kleinsasser had only two receptions for 17 yards a week after catching a team-high seven for a career-high 67. Kleinsasser sprained his right ankle during the game. He got tangled up while reaching back for a pass that QB Daunte Culpepper threw behind him. Kleinsasser was open on the play, but the pass was incomplete.

  • WR D'Wayne Bates, who was added to the injury report as probable last Thursday with a chronic hamstring injury, was inactive.

  • LB Raonall Smith was inactive for the fifth consecutive game because of a hamstring injury.

  • KR-WR Nick Davis still hasn't played all season because of a shoulder injury.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "Everyone is going to say, `It's Detroit.' But a win in this league is a win." — Coach Mike Tice, who was happy to beat anyone after a four-game losing streak.

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