Pederson on Protractors and Pereira
(973espn.com) - The Eagles probably could have stopped the Seahawks in their tracks on an important drive in Sunday night's 24-10 setback.
With Seattle's leading 17-10 and driving Russell Wilson was doing Russell Wilson things, escaping the pass rush and a diving Chris Long before racing up the middle of the field. As two defenders closed in on Wilson he pitched the football to Mike Davis, who continued for a key first down.
To the naked eye it was the kind of brilliant play that has come to define Wilson but on further review, it certainly looked like it was a forward pass yet the red-challenge flag remained in Pederson's pocket, something exacerbated by the fact Seattle continued on and scored to virtually seal the game.
Fox Sports analyst Mike Pereira, the former chief of officiating in the NFL, took to Twitter to explain a potential Eagles challenge would have likely resulted in the replay officials ruling Wilson's pitch as a forward pass, something that would have backed Seattle up five yards from the spot and led to a fourth down.
Pederson defended his actions on Monday at his press conference in Costa Mesa, Calif.
"Those are real-time decisions," the coach explained. "There's nothing hypothetical about giving up a timeout. I either throw it or I don't. So I have to make a real-time decision. I don't get the luxury of the television bringing out protractors and straight rulers and drawing lines like I guess they did and saying, 'Oh, yeah. This is probably is forward pass.' I don't get that luxury. I gotta make it within 10 to 15 seconds of them running the next play, so at the time I didn't feel like it was necessary to challenge it when we all felt like it wasn't going to be in our favor."
That includes the two people in the coaching booth tasked with helping Pederson decide what he is going to do with his challenges -- director of football compliance Jon Ferrari and coaching assistant Ryan Paganetti.
The context here is the Eagles had already lost one second-half challenge when Pederson contested the spot on a third-down catch by wide receiver Torrey Smith, something that also looked pretty clear but went against the Eagles.
So Pereira's assertion is no guarantee that Alberto Riveron and the replay crew in New York would have agreed.
Nonetheless, it was certainly a key play that swung the game in Seattle's favor in the red-challenge flag should have been thrown or even better yet, a yellow flag from Tony Corrente's crew in real time.
"Now we're playing a hypothetical," Pederson assessed. "If you throw it, yeah, it's sort of 50/50. It's kind of like the third-down call that I challenged that we felt like we had a clear, and it was cut-and-dry that we were past the line to gain and we didn't get that.
"Then I got another play later in the game that was out of my control from a review standpoint that we didn't get and now this was the third one we didn’t get. Things just didn't stack up great for us at that time, and I didn't want to risk another time out."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen