Blaming the refs is an easy cop out for teams that don't take accountability for their own mistakes, so it was reassuring that the Dallas Cowboys didn't go scorched earth on the officiating after Sunday's crushing loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
After all, the refs aren't (totally) to blame for the Cowboys losing. While some calls didn't go Dallas' way, Mike McCarthy's side shot themselves in the foot too many times to win the game, even if they outplayed the Eagles over four quarters.
Between a couple of big drops, Dak Prescott stepping out of bounds on his two-point scramble, a huge holding penalty on Luke Schoonmaker, Terence Steele allowing a sack on the Cowboys' final drive and Brandon Aubrey sailing a kickoff out of bounds to gift Philly a short field, it's almost a miracle Dallas was in a position to steal this game late.
All that said, Sunday was a terribly officiated game. While the referees aren't the reason the Cowboys lost, we can't help but wonder if the outcome would've been different if not for these dreadful blunders by the zebras.
4. James Bradberry illegal hands to the face on Michael Gallup
On 2nd and 17 just before the two minute warning in the fourth quarter, Dak Prescott was sacked for a four-yard loss to set up 3rd and 21.
Before the third down, the refs threw a flag on Eagles cornerback James Bradberry after he grabbed Michael Gallup's facemask to deter Gallup's momentum after Gallup beat him off the line of scrimmage. Replay showed that Bradberry made clear contact with Gallup's helmet and the CB even threw his hands up mid-route to profess his innocence. Gallup's head snapped back from the contact, too.
For whatever reason, the ref who threw the flag picked it up. The decision left Fox's broadcasting team of Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen dumbfounded. The Cowboys were unable to convert a 4th and 8 and turned the ball over on downs.
They got the ball back after the defense forced an Eagles punt, but they should've had a fresh set of downs with plenty of time left to win the game. Dallas didn't get the ball back until there was 46 seconds left and they were pinned at their own 14-yard line.