The Cowboys thought they were set up to at least tie their season-opener against the Rams in the final seconds of regulation Sunday. LA cornerback Jalen Ramsey knew they weren’t. Well, he made it seem as if he was certain, at least.
Officials had the final say on who was right, and their call came down on Ramsey’s side. A 47-yard completion from Dak Prescott to Michael Gallup became a 10-yard penalty for offensive pass interference that crushed the Cowboys’ hopes for a fourth-quarter comeback. Dallas turned the ball over on downs two plays later and LA began celebrating its 20-17 victory at the new SoFi Stadium.
Ramsey may have been the most sure, outside of the officiating crew, that Gallup pushed off with his right arm.
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“It was clear as day,” Ramsey said in a postgame call with reporters. “If they hadn’t called it, I would have been highly upset. Yeah, that was clear as day, in my opinion. I don’t know what y’all saw, but that’s what I saw and felt out there.”
Needless to say, Ramsey desperately wanted that result after Gallup beat him downfield and caught Prescott’s third-down heave to put the Cowboys at the Rams’ 19 with 21 seconds to play. The officials marched Dallas back to its 24 to make it third-and-20. LA then forced two Prescott incompletions to clinch the win.
“Just watching it live, it looked like two guys handfighting,” Cowboys first-year coach Mike McCarthy told reporters in his media availability. He said he had not seen a replay. “I thought it was well-executed. I was surprised there was a call there, either way. Obviously disappointed in the call, particularly at that point in the game. I thought they let both teams play tonight and you just don’t usually see that [call], particularly in a critical point in the game.”
Referee Tony Corrente said in a statement to a pool reporter (per the Dallas Morning News) that Gallup’s foul was “clear and obvious on the field, of a hand into the opposing player. A full arm extension that created separation.”
“In all situations that would be called,” he added. “We’re not going to allow that at any time of the game.”
Some observers will argue that the officials were fooled by Ramsey selling the call as he leaned back and flailed while trailing Gallup.
The Gallup penalty was the second controversial offensive pass interference call Sunday. Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green was called for pushing off on the Chargers’ Casey Hayward prior to grabbing what would have been a go-ahead touchdown pass from Joe Burrow with seven seconds to play. Green appeared to make less contact than Gallup did against Ramsey.
Randy Bullock missed an attempt at a game-tying field goal on the next snap and Cincinnati lost 16-13.