The Dallas Cowboys scraped by the LA Chargers on Monday Night Football. It was a sloppy performance from the Cowboys, but Dak Prescott outplayed Justin Herbert and Dallas' defensive stars, including Micah Parsons and Stephon Gilmore, came up with huge plays to clinch the victory.
The Cowboys sweat out the W, but should they have had to?
They jumped out to a 17-10 lead in the fourth quarter after Prescott connected with Brandin Cooks for a touchdown and the defense forced a Chargers punt on the following possession. Dallas was in the driver's seat with a chance to put the game on ice with a field goal or another touchdown.
However, the Cowboys muffed the punt after Jalen Tolbert was blocked into return man KaVontae Turpin. Unaware that Turpin, who waived for a fair catch, didn't touch the ball, Tolbert tried to recover the fumble and failed.
It's hard to blame anyone for a sequence this wild, but the Chargers never should have got the ball back because Ja'Sir Taylor committed an obvious facemask penalty (or illegal hands to the face) on Tolbert as the Dallas WR was blocked into Turpin.
Refs screwed Cowboys on crucial muffed punt vs Chargers
So the referee positioned behind Tolbert and Taylor didn't see the former's head snap back? What about the other officials? Facemasks don't get more blatant than that. Monday night was a referee show, admittedly due to sloppy play from both teams. It was a tough watch, but most calls were warranted.
In a game-changing sequence, though, they weren't bothered to throw a flag and it nearly screwed the Cowboys out of a massive win.
After a brief review, the Chargers took over possession at the Dallas 20-yard line and proceeded to score a touchdown to tie the game. You can't blame the Cowboys defense for succumbing to a short field, especially when they had just came up with a huge stand to force a Los Angeles punt while up 17-10.
That quickly became a 17-17 score with seven minutes left in the game. Thankfully, Dak Prescott was in his bag and the QB completed two huge third downs on the next drive to set up Brandon Aubrey's go-ahead 39-yard field goal.
Still, the Cowboys D needed another stand to seal the W and they did just that with a Stephon Gilmore interception of Justin Herbert. Credit to the Cowboys for coming up clutch in crunch time, but we could be talking about a different outcome if Prescott didn't put the team on his back.
This non-call breathed new life in the Chargers just as Dallas snatched all the momentum from the game, and it was nearly the difference in America's Team dropping to 3-3 on the season entering the bye instead of 4-2.
Just when you thought NFL officiating couldn't get any worse.