I’m sure that Detroit Lions fans had more than mixed feelings about the Green Bay Packers win over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. The Packers are the arch rival divisional foes. The Cowboys received some officiating support in their victory over the Lions just a week ago. With that in mind, it would seem fitting that the Cowboys lost on some debatable judgements from the officiating crew.
I am a fan of the Cowboys. I try to look at each game removing my natural bias from the fray. The “Phantom Flag” from last week’s game was pass interference in my mind. I laughed when Dallas received a call on a very similar play during the game against the Packers this past weekend. Calls were made and missed for both teams at various points in the game. I was puzzled at the lack of attention paid to Tony Romo. Players were tackling Romo at the ankles while he was in the pocket, and no penalty was called. Unless I am misreading the below excerpt from the rule book:
“No defensive player who has an unrestricted path to the quarterback may hit him flagrantly in the area of the knee(s) or below when approaching in any direction.”
These should have been penalties. But I digress. For the record I agree that the pass to Dez in the fourth quarter was incomplete (based on the current wording of the rule).
The NFC’s karmic comedy has been crazy in the last few weeks. It seems fitting that debatable calls are the extension and end of a season full of surprises for the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas had a fourth and one and opted to pass the ball, despite having the league’s best rusher and offensive line at their disposal. Not only did the team neglect the running game, DeMarco Murray wasn’t even on the field for the play. There were several minutes left, the team was in field goal range, and three points would have meant another field goal could have taken the lead. None of that really matters. The Packers move on to face the Seattle Seahawks next week, and the season is over for the Cowboys.
Lions fans will jostle with the feelings of vindication that go along with the Cowboys being ousted in such fashion. It’s a three piece suit that tailored to fit. Some Lions supporters will tell you that they didn’t deserve to be at this game in the first place. The Old School Lion Faithful would have stated, “I don’t care who wins it this year, so long as it’s not the Packers”. Packers fans will take issue with some of the more questionable play calls made by Dallas throughout the game. Aaron Rogers looks as good as a quarterback can playing on one leg. Hope he plays that well this coming weekend.
Cowboys fans know their team exceeded expectations in every way. It’s hard not to get upset at the lost opportunity – a chunk of starters on both sides of the ball are due to be free agents, and the team won’t be able to re-sign all of them. You got away with a lucky break against Detroit, it would have been foolish to think you’d receive a similar gift this past week. Call it Karma, regression to the mean, or “an evening out.” Whatever you call it, the game wasn’t won or lost on that single play although it’s difficult not to focus on that singular moment.