This will be the Monday morning debate at the water cooler: Were the Dallas Cowboys robbed by the referees?
No matter which side of the aisle you fall on, it’s evident the Cowboys were preparing to tie the game, or perhaps win it, in the final moments of Sunday night’s 20-17 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
As a refresher, Dallas was trailing by three with the ball at their own 34-yard line and 31 seconds left in the fourth quarter. On third-and-10, quarterback Dak Prescott uncorked a perfectly-placed deep shot to wide receiver Michael Gallup, who secured the 47-yard gainer, beating coverage from Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
“Its 1-on-1. Michael Gallup is a guy I trust every time, especially in a deep ball situation,” Prescott told reporters after the game. “I just put it out there and tried to let him go up under it. From my point of view I can’t see anything.”
Then laundry hit the SoFi Stadium turf. Pass interference, offense, No. 13. Didn’t count. Never happened.
The game-changing OPI call on Michael Gallup that negated a MASSIVE pickup pic.twitter.com/MjqBh4KNer
— Tom Downey (@WhatGoingDowney) September 14, 2020
There wasn’t much interfering, though. Replay (seen above) showed the players innocuously jockeying for position, with Gallup subtly initiating contact against Ramsey. Emphasis on “subtly”; it wasn’t enough to decide the outcome of a one-possession tilt in crunch time. And because PI is no longer challengable, the Cowboys were forced to live with the result — 0-1, a bitter start to an intensely-hyped campaign.
Which left debuting head coach Mike McCarthy shellshocked.
“Just watching it live it looked like two guys hand-fighting,” McCarthy told reporters. “I thought it was well executed. I was surprised there was a call there. We’re very, obviously, disappointed in the call, particular at that point in the game. I thought they let both teams play tonight. You just don’t usually see that, particularly in a critical point in the game.”
And rookie receiver CeeDee Lamb in disbelief.
“I didn’t agree with the call,” Lamb said.
But not Ramsey, who explained that Gallup “clear as day” committed an infraction and was correctly penalized for it.
“He extended his full arm so it was clear as day,” he said after the game. “If they didn’t call that I would have been highly upset. That was clear as day in my opinion. I don’t know what y’all saw but that’s what I saw and felt out there.”
There have been plenty of instances over the years where Dallas, by its own volition, snatches defeat from the jaws of victory. This, very arguably, wasn’t such an instance.
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Corrente Defends Call
Tony Corrente, head zebra who announced the penalty, veered toward Ramsey’s line of thinking. If this wasn’t made obvious by upholding the flag, Corrente doubled down in his post-game remarks to pool reporter Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
“I can tell you it was clear and obvious on the field, of a hand into the opposing player. A full arm extension that created separation,” Corrente told Hill, via ESPN. “In all situations that would be called. We’re not going to allow that at any time of the game.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL