Eagles Coach Nick Sirianni Explains ‘Nuclear’ Exchange with Refs

Nick Sirianni

Getty Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni was livid after a pass interference call negated a touchdown in Week 4.

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni must have been sick of settling for field goals. When a pass interference call negated a Zach Ertz touchdown, Sirianni went nuclear on the officials.

He motioned for them to come over and demanded an explanation as to what J.J. Arcega-Whiteside did. The replay showed the third-year receiver shove his forearm into the defender.

Yes, there was some contact but it didn’t look like enough to warrant a flag. Sirianni certainly didn’t think so and let the refs know.

The penalty call stood and pushed the Eagles back 10 yards to the Kansas City 13-yard line. Instead of going for it again on fourth down, Sirianni elected to kick the field goal. Jake Elliott booted the 31-yarder through the uprights to make it 21-16. Unfortunately for Philly, the Chiefs came right back down the field and turned an 11-play, 75-yard drive into seven points: 28-16.

Sirianni had cooled down considerably after the game and gave a diplomatic answer when asked about the incident. He didn’t unleash any venom on the officials.

“They thought that he pushed him downfield, and they thought it was [OPI]. You know what, they have a tough job,” Sirianni said. “The referees have a tough job, we have a tough job, the players have a tough job. They’re trying to get it right. I know they’re trying to get it right. They are trying to do their best to get it right. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.”

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DeVonta Smith Goes Over 100 Yards

DeVonta Smith had six catches for 105 yards heading into the fourth quarter, highlighted by a 37-yard grab down the sideline. Jalen Hurts heaved it to the rookie receiver from deep in his own territory at the end of the first half.

Smith became the first Eagles rookie to record a 100-yard receiving game since 2014 when Jordan Matthews did it. The Heisman Trophy winner came into Week 4 with 11 receptions for 115 yards and a score.

Offensive coordinator Shane Steichen talked about getting Smith going earlier in the week. Smith had been targeted 13 times over the past two weeks, but only came away with five catches.

“I think like Coach [Sirianni] said the other day, I think just easy touches and get guys going, you know, with whatever it may be just to get the ball in their hand and get them going,” Steichen said, “and then you get some confidence going. And then everyone starts bringing confidence throughout the game.”

Bad Penalties Keep Killing Eagles

Derek Barnett has more career penalties than sacks. Look it up, it’s true. He has 19.5 sacks in five NFL seasons against 23 total penalties. Barnett also has nine personal fouls after getting a flag for roughing the passer on Sunday (Oct. 3). That one gave the Chiefs a new set of downs late in the second quarter. Two plays later, Kansas City scored a touchdown and pushed their lead to 21-13.

The bone-headed play was even more irritating because Barnett has been warned about ill-timed penalties by the coaching staff. Sirianni was caught on camera last week saying, “it’s always him,” after a late hit.

“It’s something I need to correct and am continually working on,” Barnett told reporters on Oct. 1 (via the team’s website). “I can’t put my team in a tough position even if it’s 5 yards, 10, whatever it is. If I’m hurting the team in that way, we’re not focused on the main goal, which is winning. I have to correct that issue. I just have to be smart, especially in critical situations.”

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