Two things can be true. The Dallas Cowboys are proving they don't belong in the same class as the San Francisco 49ers. At the same time, the referres on task for Sunday Night Football have been an absolute disaster.
49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw got away with a blatant late hit on Tony Pollard. At the very least, Greenlaw should have been flagged for unnecessary roughness, as he body-slammed Pollard as momentum took him out of bounds.
It's frustrating because later in the first half Donovan Wilson was called for an unnecessary roughness tackle on a third-down stop. Equipped with a fresh set of downs, the 49ers went on to score later in the drive to extend their lead.
Missing blatant penalties has been a theme of this game so far. The refs were positioned perfectly on Greenlaw's WWe move, just as they were when 49ers defensive lineman Aaron Banks landed a punch on Cowboys DL Johnathan Hankins after a Christian McCaffrey rushing touchdown.
49ers DL Aaron Banks avoids ejection after landing punch on Cowboys' Johnathan Hankins
In fairness, the refs flagged Banks for unncessary roughness. The 15 yards were enforced on the ensuing kickoff. That said, any thrown (let alone landed) punch is grounds for ejection, and yet the zebras didn't step up to the plate.
What gives? The refs already made themselves a talking point. Ejecting Banks for throwing a punch wouldn't have made them any bigger of a spotlight. Don't worry, though. The NFL will "come down" on Banks and the 49ers in the form of a steep fine and pretend everything's fine.
Ironically, 49ers left tackle Trent Williams got away with a similar infraction in Week 3 against the Giants. Williams landed a right hook on A'Shawn Robinson and was flagged for unnecessary roughness, but avoided an ejection. Is it merely a coincidence that San Francisco keeps getting away with dirty plays?
That's two landed punches and nary an ejection to show for it. That's refereeing incompetence at its finest.
It's worth noting that even below-average refereeing wouldn't save the Cowboys tonight. They're getting out-classed in all three facets and deserve to lose, assuming they don't overcome their current 28-10 deficit.
Be that as it may, it's an outrage that Banks is still in the game. He made clear contact with Hankins' helmet and should have been tossed.