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Bad refs and underachieving Cowboy football is back.

Jim Rome
September 14, 2020 - 10:57 am
Michael Gallup and Jalen Ramsey

USA Today

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After what Arizona did to San Francisco yesterday, and what Seattle did to Atlanta, the Los Angeles Rams had to respond last night. When you’re in a division that is that much of a meatgrinder, you have to respond! You can’t be dropping games at home. Especially when you’re opening a new home. That new home.

The unveiling of that sparkling new crib in LA last night wasn’t exactly what the Rams had in mind when they were scratching checks to the tune of 5 billion. You build a 5 billion dollar house and you break out some new outfits, and you’d like to have a few friends show up to the housewarming, but because of the pandemic, the only guests were the Cowboys.

Good news is, even if there was no party the hosts were still having a helluva good time early on: because  on that opening drive, the Rams looked especially shar. New house, new threads, and moving the ball like the 2018 Rams.

7 plays, 75 yards, capped off by a Malcolm Brown touchdown.

As with everything from yesterday, it’s just one game and that was just one drive, in one game, but if you’re a Rams fan, you had to be feeling good about that. Jared Goff, coming off a really shaky looked really comfortable in the offense, the line was getting it done, and they were punching people in the face up front. 

They then chased that with a 17 play, 72 yard drive that ate up nearly nine minutes.  Again, another positive.  Unfortunately, they stalled out in the red zone.  But some points are better than no points: just line it up, and take the chippy, not so fast.

DOINK! Missed FG. And that one was even better because it was in a totally empty stadium. And in that Taj Mahal, that doink probably echoed for about five minutes.

And speaking of the fact that there wasn’t a crowd there last night, Aaron Donald summed it up perfectly. "You make a play and it's a high five, you don't have the crowd to celebrate to.... Football is football at the end of the day, it just felt more like a little league game back when I was 6,7 years old playing. The only thing that wasn't there was my mom and dad screaming, "AARON."

Love that. But it wasn’t just the Rams playing by themselves. The Cowboys were there as well. And it wasn’t just the Cowboys, it was the new look Cowboys with Mike McCarthy at the helm.

It feels like about a billion years ago, but the Cowboys moved on from Jason Garrett and replaced him with the sleep-over buddy of Jerry Jones. And Mike McCarthy wanted to show he was different than the guy at the end of his time in Green Bay by going for it on fourth down from the Rams 11.

Just so we’re clear: it was fourth and three from the Rams 11 yard line with LA leading 20-17. No way wasn’t conservative mike McCarthy taking the points; no way would he risk leaving a sure three, on the field, on the road. No way would he do that: the hell he wouldn’t!!!!! 

A two yard completion on 4th and three? Are you sure Jason Garrett isn’t still coaching this team? Because that is the most ginger thing ever….

It’s easy to second guess the decision to go for it on 4th and three from the 11, especially when you ended up losing by three points, but I’m not going to Monday morning quarterback that decision. But. I’m going to Monday morning quarterback the actual play. How is the resulting play a 2-yard completion when you need three? I mean, sure it was an unbelievable tackle: but how the hell are you even going to allow any defensive player to be in that position to even make that play in that situation?? 

When you’re brought in to be an offensive wizard, the guy to unlock this offense that is loaded with talent at quarterback, running back, and multiple wide receivers, how do you dial that up in that situation? And how do you manage just 17 points? And how does that team seem so flat on offense. As with everything, it’s just one game but so far the 2020 cowboys look a whole helluva lot like the 2019 Cowboys: the same crew that finally got Jason Garrett fired. I thought there’d be this injection of new blood, and adrenaline, a jolt: but, it felt pretty much like how it’s been with the Cowboys for a very long time – with the whole being less than the sum of its parts.

But as sluggish and as flat as the Cowboys were, and as porous as the defense was, they still somehow had a shot late in the fourth quarter and they took that shot third and ten from the Dallas 34.

 

Michael Gallop beat Jalen Ramsey on the bomb for a 47 yard completion to put them in field goal range to tie the game.

But there’s a flag on the play. And the flag on the play is for offensive pass interference?!? Huh?!? How often do you see offensive pass interference called? And how often do you see it called in that situation? I’ll answer that, pretty much never.

And McCarthy agreed: "I was surprised there was a call either way. Obviously I'm very disappointed in the call, especially that late. You don't see that at a critical part of the game."

No you don’t. You don’t see that at a critical part of the game and I’m not sure you see a call like that at just about any time in the game. Ramsey did a hell of job selling that call, but wow, that was a weak weak call. 

Referee Tony Corrente stuck by it: "I can tell you it 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. We're not going to allow that at any time of the game."

I love a ref coming in with that level of authority – “we're not going to allow that at any time of the game." Not in my house, McCarthy. Take your junk somewhere else.

Except it feels like you see a play like that dozens of times during an NFL weekend and it’s almost never called, especially in the fourth quarter of a three-point game. 

Honestly, as shaky as that call was, and it was shaky as hell, there’s part of me that is okay with it because it means that there is some normalcy in life. If we’re talking about bad NFL refs and second-guessing a Cowboys head coach that means that life is returning. Welcome back football, and welcome back bad refs. And welcome back underachieving Cowboy football. Maybe we really are returning to normal.