Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wade Not Happy With Botched Calls

BY Drew Magary

While the Cowboys have no one to blame but themselves for Sunday’s rotten loss in Green Bay, I think you and I can both agree the referees did not exactly do a sterling job in this one. I expect nothing less from Jeff Triplette, who frequently makes calls by apparently drawing names out of a hat.

Anyway, Triplette screwed up big on Sunday by not penalizing Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy for challenging Patrick Crayton’s fourth quarter catch when the Packers had no challenges left. Calling timeout when you don’t have one (as Donovan McNabb did against Oakland a while back) or issuing a challenge when you don’t have one is supposed to be an automatic 15-yard penalty. But the Packers never got flagged for it, and the Cowboys are justifiably displeased about it.

What’s more, coach Wade Phillips found two more mistakes by Triplette and company in Sunday’s debacle. According to Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

Toward the end of the first half, Packers punt returner Tramon Williams stepped out of bounds on an 18-yard return with 42 seconds left.

Phillips said the play should have been reviewed.

It wasn't, and the Packers' Mason Crosby made a 48-yard field goal to break a scoreless game.

"It was a 7-yard difference, and the guy ended up kicking a 52-yard field goal," Phillips said. "So things like that happened to us and we've got to find out why."

In the third quarter, on a Williams punt return, the officials threw a flag for an illegal block above the waist on Packers safety Derrick Martin.

But according to Phillips, the referees threw the flag down at the 26 instead of the 33, where they started to mark if off. Williams' return was reviewed because he fumbled and the Cowboys recovered, but the play was overturned when it was determined Williams' knee was down before losing the ball.

"It was obviously on the 26 and should've been on the [16]," Phillips said. "Things like that, we go to the league on those things and find out why."

Phillips is obviously phrasing this as diplomatically as possible to avoid being fined by the league. But he’s right. Those calls, particularly the illegal challenge and the return spot, were harmful to the Cowboys.

Would the Cowboys have won with those calls corrected? No, probably not. Not when their offense stunk up the joint the way they did. But there may come a time down the stretch where such mistakes COULD cost the team. And Phillips is right to try and rectify it now. Because, judging by the final games on the Cowboys schedule, there isn’t going to be a whole lot of room for error.