Jerry Jones, the owner and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys, made it plain that he did not blame the referees for his team’s 36-33 overtime defeat to the Las Vegas Raiders.
However, he made it obvious that he was not happy that they had an impact on the game.
In Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day game, both the Cowboys and the Raiders were penalised 14 times. The Cowboys received a franchise-record 166 yards as a result of the penalties, while the Raiders received 110. Following an altercation out of bounds after a punt, Cowboys cornerback Kelvin Joseph and Raiders safety Roderic Teamer were dismissed in the third quarter.
The game-winning field goal attempt was set up by a 33-yard pass interference call on Cowboys CB Anthony Brown, who did not turn around for a long ball made by Derek Carr on third-and-18 from the Las Vegas 43.
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“Well, this is definitely going to be the most watched game outside of the Super Bowl, and I hated that it came down to simply chucking the ball up and getting your penalties to get your big plays,” Jones remarked. “And I believe we were into it.” Don’t get me wrong: I’m so proud of our team for the way we hung in, hung in, and came back and played, but it’s frustrating for everyone, for all of our fans at this time, to have a game that had you on pretty unsure footing as to where you were going to be with your fundamentals, i.e., whether those were going to be called or not. And they received calls as well, so it’s just an off-kilter way to play the game.”
It wasn’t unexpected, however.
Jones said that he anticipated a high-penalty game when he spoke with Mike McCarthy before to the game. Shawn Hochuli’s crew came into the game with the fifth-most flags (153) and the third-highest penalty yardage (1,207).
“28 penalties — I’m not sure what the heck you want me to say,” McCarthy remarked. “Write anything you want; I’m ok with it.”
The Cowboys have been among the league’s most penalised teams this season. After Thursday’s game, they moved into first place in the league with 91 yards for 816 yards. The Raiders are second with 89 yards on the ground.
“Obviously, that was irritating,” McCarthy said. “From start to end, the game was choppy.
Give our boys credit for being focused and fighting. I recognise that the numbers are ludicrous. But, like everything else in this game, there are trends and patterns, and we expected this game to be officiated in this manner.
“But, in the same breath, you have to straddle the line.” I don’t want our players to slow down and play slower. We’ve done it before, and it didn’t assist us when we were overcoaching the penalties a few weeks ago. We’re going to get back up on our feet and start fighting. We need to work hard on our basics and finish plays. We’ll look at it thoroughly. Every week, we assess the penalties. We break them down, and it will be part of our primary focus as we prepare for the Saints.”
Brown’s penalties cost him 91 yards. He joins Trayvon Mullen and Xavien Howard as the third player since 2000 to be penalised four times for defensive pass interference in a single game.
Brown referred to it as “one of those days,” albeit after one breakdown in the second quarter, he looked to jokingly search for a flag from the referees.
“As a DB, you certainly have to have a short memory, because you’re always on to the next play,” Brown said. “We’re in it to the bitter finish.” Unfortunately, the last penalty was critical. We simply have to keep battling. We have no influence over whether or not the ref throws flags. We can’t dispute with them since it won’t make a difference.”
When it looked that Carr had collided with Micah Parsons, he was called for roughing-the-passer.
“I believe we should be playing football instead of tag,” the rookie linebacker stated.
In the first half, the Cowboys had a possible fumble recovery reversed when Jayron Kearse seemed to poke the ball loose from tight end Darren Waller. McCarthy was unable to contest the replay official’s determination that the pass was incomplete.
“I was genuinely celebrating with my teammates on the sideline with my helmet off,” Kearse said. “I have no influence over the call they make.” That is beyond my control. We’ll simply continue to play football. Each to his or her own. You may play the footage and everyone who views it will be able to see what happened. I haven’t watched the performance. I only know that from my perspective, I felt he was sprinting with the ball. As I already said, the problem tonight is the officiating. We’ll simply have to put up with it.”