3 awful calls from refs that wrecked Cowboys momentum in humbling loss vs Bills

Dec 17, 2023; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) attempts the
Dec 17, 2023; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) attempts the / Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
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Don't allow the headline to deceive you. The Dallas Cowboys were bullied against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. The Cowboys were punched in the mouth early, and though they showed fight after the snap on a number of occasions, what transpired before the whistle was nothing short of embarrassing.

Clearly out to impose their physicality by running the football, the Bills racked up over 200 rushing yards before the end of the third quarter. At that point in the game, Josh Allen, who entered the game as the NFL's leader in total touchdowns, had completed six passes.

Like Week 5 against the 49ers, this was a familiar case of the Cowboys laying an egg and appearing to quit on a huge stage against a good team in a hostile environment.

We say all of that to say this: By no means are the refs the reason Dallas lost on Sunday. They team didn't show up, but there were some calls early in the game that helped swing momentum in Buffalo's favor.

3. Jayron Kearse unnecessary roughness on 2nd an 19

Kearse didn't play well at all, but the refs did him dirty when they flagged him for unnecessary roughness on 2nd and 19 in the second quarter. Josh Allen threw a pass intended for Khalik Shakir and Kearse timed the hit perfectly to ensure Shakir didn't make the grab.

Shakir leaped to make the catch and the refs seemingly docked Kearse for a hit on a defenseless player. The veteran safety didn't make contact with Shakir's head. Nor did he lead with his helmet. It was another case in the NFL of a football player being penalized for playing football.

The NFL is obviously trying to limit injuries, but they're making defender's jobs impossible in the process. Nothing about this is unnecessary roughness.

The other maddening part is that Kearse probably wouldn't have been flagged if Shakir caught the pass. Kearse obviously didn't know that when making the hit. The Bills went on to score a touchdown to extend their lead to 21-0.