The Dallas Cowboys 2014 season ended at Lambeau Field on Sunday. Dallas fell to the Packers, 26-21, in a hard-fought battle between two NFL heavyweights. Today, the day after the game, most people are talking about the controversial fourth-down play involving Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant.
Quarterback Tony Romo threw a pass down the sideline to Bryant. Bryant jumped, grabbed the football, got at least three feet down in bounds, and lunged toward the goal line. When Bryant hit the ground, the ball popped up, but never touched the ground. He held the ball and the official ruled it a catch at about the one-yard line.
Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy challenged the ruling, which we know was overturned and ruled an incomplete pass. Let the argument begin.
A Move Common to the Game
It is being said that Bryant did not make a “move common to the game.” So possession had yet to be made, which means the ball coming loose makes it an incomplete pass. I have watched that play dozens of times. Bryant did not pull the ball into his body as he was going to the ground. He was clearly extending it toward the goal line. So my question for the officials is, “How is extending the ball toward the goal line NOT a ‘move common to the game?'”
I can’t remember which official, but one of them stated that it was their opinion that it was Bryant’s momentum that sent him toward the goal line. Like I said, Bryant extended the ball toward the goal line. He did not pull it into his body. And so the Dallas Cowboys’ season ended on the “opinion” of an official. That is WRONG. The ruling on the field is not to be overturned unless there is clear evidence that the ruling was incorrect. Last I checked, an “opinion” does not constitute clear, indisputable evidence.
Whether or not the play was ruled properly, it is a rule that needs to change. The fact the ground CAN’T cause a fumble but CAN cause an incompletion is just plain absurd.
Don’t get me wrong. That play did not guarantee a Dallas Cowboys victory by any means. The Dallas defense was getting shredded by Packers QB Aaron Rodgers in the second half. Green Bay may very well have won the game even if the call on the field had stood.
Dallas had many other chances to win the game. One play that comes to mind is DeMarco Murray’s fumble with nothing but the end zone in front of him and the Cowboys already holding a 21-13 lead. Even after “the Dez play,” the Packers converted a third-down pass to seal the game despite it being tipped at the line of scrimmage and wobbling toward the intended receiver. That was the play right there that told me it just wasn’t meant to be for this year’s Dallas Cowboys.
Dallas Cowboys 2014 Season Was A Success
I think it’s important for Cowboys fans to keep this season in perspective. In the spring and summer months, Dallas was projected as a five- or six-win team. Tony Romo’s back was a major concern and the defense (historically bad the season prior) lost dominant pass rusher DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher. They also lost the quarterback of their defense, middle linebacker Sean Lee, before the season started. Despite all that, the Cowboys doubled expectations by going 12-4, winning the NFC East, and winning a playoff game. And they’re the fourth youngest team in the NFL. The best is yet to come for these Dallas Cowboys.