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Mike McCarthy didn’t think he’d win a challenge when officials spotted CeeDee Lamb short

Mike McCarthy reflects on where the Cowboys came up short against the Eagles in Week 6 and why the biggest emphasis needs to be on playing a cleaner game moving forward.

Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy missed a big opportunity when he didn’t challenge a ruling that CeeDee Lamb had come up just short of a first down on Sunday night, but he said afterward that in the moment, he didn’t think he would win a challenge.

McCarthy said he originally thought the officials gave Lamb the first down and signaled to the offense to hurry up and run the next play before the Eagles could challenge. By the time the officials told him that they had actually ruled Lamb inches short, McCarthy decided to go ahead and let the offense go for it on fourth-and-inches.

“CeeDee’s catch, the communication was originally first down, and then we went turbo on the ball, quick play, and then the communication when they pulled it back, fourth down [down judge Robin DeLorenzo] on the sideline told me she had the knee down before he extended. My history has been when the official tells you that, it’s usually pretty clear. We were already in turbo because of the other side. We were in turbo because, if he didn’t get the first down,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy said he hadn’t seen a replay but he figured if an official told him Lamb was short then Lamb probably was short. And McCarthy said that when the Cowboys’ offense lined up, they liked the look they were getting from the Eagles’ defense.

“There was no replay in that sequence,” McCarthy said. “My experience has been when it’s communicated by an official, I’m usually discouraged from challenging that play, and then we had time to see their defense and we expected man and they were in man, and that’s why we stayed with the call that we did. It didn’t work out, and it put our defense in terrible field position.”

Based on the replays shown during the broadcast, it appeared that McCarthy would have won if he had challenged. But he didn’t, and the next play failed, and the Cowboys sunk deeper into a hole they were unable to climb out of.