ARLINGTON, Texas — It's hard to imagine a worse call.
And it may have cost the Eagles a win over the Cowboys and potentially a playoff berth.
“Whoever’s watching that in New York should stay off the bottle,” Malcolm Jenkins said of the NFL's replay officials.
Jourdan Lewis of the Cowboys fielded Jake Elliott’s opening kickoff Sunday a yard deep in the end zone and opted to bring it out.
Jenkins stripped him at the Cowboys’ 18-yard line and Kamu Grugier-Hill recovered.
End of story.
Well, it should have been.
The officials originally ruled Lewis was down by contact, but the Eagles challenged, and everybody in the stadium and everybody watching at home just assumed the call would be reversed.
Once the replay was shown on the big screen at AT&T Stadium, the Eagles’ offense and Cowboys’ defense even both ran on the field.
First down Eagles.
Only it wasn’t.
The replay official in New York ruled there was “no clear recovery” of the fumble, even though there wasn't a Cowboy anywhere near the football.
Instead of the Eagles taking over inside the Dallas 20, it was Cowboys ball, and they eventually won, 29-23, in overtime (see observations).
“That was a pretty terrible call, to be honest,” Jenkins said. “They reviewed it and the explanation I got was that it wasn’t a clear recovery. Although Kamu had the ball in his hand and there were only Eagles defenders on the ball in the replay. Common sense … you saw Kamu come out with the ball. Obviously, they don’t pay me to make calls, but in hindsight, that was a big play in the game.”
The part that makes no sense is that no Cowboy could have possibly recovered the football. So even if the replay official wasn’t sure which Eagle recovered — Grugier-Hill, Jenkins, LaRoy Reynolds and Nathan Gerry were all there — there was zero chance that any Cowboy recovered.
If any one of four Eagles could have recovered and you're not sure which one did, that should be Eagles football.
“It was all green jerseys,” Grugier-Hill said. “All green jerseys.”
Referee Clint Blakeman explained the ruling to a pool reporter:
We’ve got a couple different components because we have a pile-up in the end. So we’ve got to have clear evidence that there was a fumble, which we did. We confirmed there was a fumble in the replay review. The second component of it was there a clear recovery. And that’s just what we couldn’t confirm with the angles we had on video to make it a clear recovery by Philadelphia, so we had to stay with the ruling on the field.
Grugier-Hill, who made headlines last week when he said the Cowboys would choke Sunday, could have been a hero for the Eagles.
Instead, he's just a footnote to another frustrating loss.
“I came up with the ball, so I don’t understand,” Grugier-Hill said. “Nothing you can really say about that. It’s ridiculous. Obviously came up with the ball.”
Grugier-Hill said he hates blaming the refs for anything.
But in this case?
“I’m not here to throw anyone under the bus," he said. "But yeah. Real frustrating.”
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