Refs crew Cowboys with awful Stephon Gilmore pass interference penalty before Seahawks TD

New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys
New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Whereas the Dallas Cowboys offense has come out firing on Thursday Night Football, the defense's effort has left a lot to be desired. DaRon Bland and Donovan Wilson were at fault for D.K. Metcalf's 73 yards touchdown on a slant route that allowed Seattle to take a 7-3 lead.

Sure enough, Dak Prescott and the Cowboys offense scored twice to open up a 17-7 advantage ... only for Dan Quinn's defense to allow the Seahawks back in the game.

Linebacker Rashaan Evans was flagged for a 40-yard pass interference that propelled Seattle into the red zone. Evans was in coverage on the speedy Tyler Lockett. It's impossible to expect the veteran LB to win that matchup.

It looked for a second that Dallas would hold strong for a field goal, but Stephon Gilmore got penalized for pass interference in the end zone on a Geno Smith pass intended for rookie Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Zach Charbonnet scored a play later to bring the score to 17-14.

It's a killer penalty for the Cowboys, but the contact was marginal and didn't have any influence in the pass falling incomplete.

Refs call weak pass inteference on Cowboys' Stephon Gilmore before Seahawk TD

If that's pass inteference, then call it on every play. We're old enough to remember when Seahawks cornerback Tariq Woolen subtly grabbed Jake Ferguson's facemask at the beginning of a red zone route in the first quarter. Nothing was called.

This was superb coverage by Gilmore. Receivers and cornerbacks engage in hand-fighting on every snap. Both parties tug and push off to establish leverage. Gilmore's tug of Smith-Njigba's jersey was hardly consequential. He was stride-for-stride with the first-round receiver, who was in position to make a play on the ball.

An extra half-step wouldn't have made any difference. Geno Smith fit the pass into an impossible window. It seems as though the refs were baited by Smith-Njigba throwing his hands up in protest fishing for a flag.

It's a frustrating outcome for Gilmore, who if you remember, was flagged for a phantom pass interference against the Eagles a month ago.

At the end of the day, though, the Cowboys defense shouldn't need the benefit of the doubt from referees to prevent Seattle from scoring. This game will go right down to the wire if the defense doesn't start making plays.