Pederson Takes Blame Off Poor Officiating
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Yes, Doug Pederson believes his team got hosed in Detroit on Sunday but he also isn’t blaming poor officiating for the Eagles' first loss of the season, a 24-23 setback to the Lions.
The two are not mutually exclusive.
The controversy stems from the game-changing fumble coughed up by Ryan Mathews with less than three minutes to play. Detroit cornerback Darius Slay jarred the football loose and defensive tackle Tyrunn Walker fell on it at the Philadelphia 45-yard line but in between that the ball appeared to touch Jason Kelce while the Eagles center was partially lying out of bounds.
By rule, that would mean a dead ball and possession would have reverted back to Philadelphia, meaning fourth down, a Donnie Jones punt and the Lions would have had to traverse a much longer field in order to get a game-winning field goal.
Pederson admitted during his Monday press conference that the Eagles do believe Kelce touched the football and his team should have retained possession.
"It's a dead ball; out of bounds," Pederson said. "That's the rule. That was one of the things this morning I wanted to make sure this morning that I was correct and accurate in that ruling."
Here’s how NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino explained the issue:
Per Blandino’s explanation, the call on the field was key because there was not enough video evidence to overturn it either way.
"It's just one of those things," Pederson said. "But we can't cough the ball up."
The bigger issue, however, may have been how the third-most penalized team in the NFL coming in, Detroit, was only flagged two times compared to the 14 flags that flew at the Eagles.
That’s quite the disparity and one that has many in Philadelphia taking shots at referee Pete Morelli and his crew.
And some of that is probably deserved but Pederson is smart enough to have the serenity to accept the things he cannot change.
"We almost overcame it and nearly won it," Pederson said. "That's a tribute to this football team."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen