Referee Explains Graham Strip Sack
(973espn.com) - The exclamation point on the Eagles' emphatic 30-17 Kickoff Weekend win over NFC East rival Washington was a Brandon Graham strip sack that was scooped up by Fletcher Cox, who rumbled 20 yards for a touchdown with less than two minutes left in the game.
The play was somewhat controversial as it appeared Kirk Cousins’ arm was moving forward when the ball came out and both FOX rules analysts — former NFL officiating chiefs Mike Pereira and Dean Blandino — asserted it should be overturned. The NFL’s new officiating czar — Albert Riveron — stuck with the on-field call, however, which was TD.
The man who made the call, referee Brad Allen, spoke to a pool reporter after the game to explain what went on.
“Real time, I have lack of control in the hand," Allen claimed. "That means empty hand going forward. We ruled fumble, recovered by the defense.”
As for the review, Allen, one of four referees who was hired full-time by the NFL, claimed that there wasn't enough evidence to reverse the on-field decision.
“There was nothing conclusive that would overturn the ruling on the field," Allen said. "All the views we had were inconclusive, so we have to stay with the ruling on the field.”
So essentially if Allen had ruled incomplete forward pass on the field that would have stood the ready of replay as well.
"I just have to go with my gut. And my gut said fumble.” Allen said.
Cousins disagreed but took the decision in stride.
"We'd like to think that we had a chance there to get the ball back, but I always expect when the play is allowed to be reviewed and they can go over it again that they're going to make the right call, and you saw their decision," the veteran QB said. "Tough one, but there are so many other plays in the game that lead to that moment that I really think are more important and more telling of why it didn't go our way at the end."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen