Malcolm Jenkins: Replay official should 'stay off the bottle'

The Dallas Cowboys’ win over the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday was an overtime thriller filled with a flurry of offense in the game’s final minutes.

It also had its fair share of controversy.

Officials made a bizarre offensive pass interference call that wiped a late 75-yard Eagles touchdown off the board before Philadelphia bailed them out by scoring on the drive. That was in the fourth quarter.

Game-changing call before the first snap

The game didn’t even have its first snap before bickering over the officials ensued. Jourdan Lewis took the opening kickoff for the Cowboys and fumbled it when he met a gang of Eagles defenders near the Dallas 17-yard line. 

Eagles linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill left a pile of players with the football in an apparent huge play for Philadelphia to start the game. 

But officials ruled that Lewis was down by contact, prompting an Eagles challenge.

See photos from the game: 

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Week 14: Cowboys defeat Eagles
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Week 14: Cowboys defeat Eagles
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 09: Philadelphia Eagles Cornerback De'Vante Bausby (41) sets to tackle Dallas Cowboys Running Back Ezekiel Elliott (21) during the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys on December 9, 2018 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. (Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 09: Dallas Cowboys Tight End Dalton Schultz (86) makes a reception with Philadelphia Eagles Safety Corey Graham (24) trailing during the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys on December 9, 2018 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. (Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 09: Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Amari Cooper (19) runs after making a reception during the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys on December 9, 2018 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. (Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 09: Dallas Cowboys Cornerback Anthony Brown (30), Safety's Jeff Heath (38) and Xavier Woods (25) celebrate a big third down stop during the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys on December 9, 2018 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. (Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 09: Philadelphia Eagles Running Back Josh Adams (33) is gang tackled by Dallas Cowboys Defensive End Demarcus Lawrence (90), Defensive Tackle Maliek Collins (96) and Linebacker Jaylon Smith (54) during the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys on December 9, 2018 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. (Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 09: Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott (4) drops back to pass during the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys on December 9, 2018 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. (Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 09: Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor (13) catches a pass during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles on December 9, 2018 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Texas. Dallas defeats Philadelphia 29-23 in overtime.(Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 09: Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper (19) catches a touchdown pass during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles on December 9, 2018 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Texas. Dallas defeats Philadelphia 29-23 in overtime.(Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 09: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) looks downfield for an open receiver during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles on December 9, 2018 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Texas. Dallas defeats Philadelphia 29-23 in overtime.(Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 09: Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) stiff arms Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Sidney Jones (22) during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles on December 9, 2018 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Texas. Dallas defeats Philadelphia 29-23 in overtime.(Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 09: Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) gets tackled by Philadelphia Eagles outside linebacker Nigel Bradham (53) and cornerback DeVante Bausby (41) during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles on December 9, 2018 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Texas. Dallas defeats Philadelphia 29-23 in overtime.(Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 09: Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert (88) scores a touchdown during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles on December 9, 2018 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Texas. Dallas defeats Philadelphia 29-23 in overtime.(Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 09: Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Amari Cooper (19) runs after making a reception during the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys on December 9, 2018 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. (Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 09: Philadelphia Eagles Wide Receiver Alshon Jeffery (17) stretches for a pass during the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys on December 9, 2018 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. (Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 09: Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Michael Gallup (13) dives for a pass during the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys on December 9, 2018 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. (Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 09: Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz (11) looks over the defense during the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys on December 9, 2018 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. (Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys tight end Blake Jarwin (89) is hit by Philadelphia Eagles outside linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill (54) after making a catch in the second half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Roger Steinman)
Dallas Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence (90) celebrates a play against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Roger Steinman)
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Officials: No clear recovery

Replay showed a clear fumble and pile of Eagles defenders swarming the ball, but didn’t provide clear evidence of who recovered it. Replay officials acknowledged that Lewis was down by contact, but declined to reward possession to the Eagles because they couldn’t determine who recovered the ball.

This prompted a blunt response from Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins after the game.

Jenkins: ‘Stay off the bottle’

“That was a pretty terrible call,” Jenkins told reporters. “They reviewed it and the explanation I got was that it wasn’t a clear recovery, although Kamu had the ball in his hand and there was only Eagles defenders on the ball in replay.

“So whoever’s watching that in New York should stay off the bottle.”

On-field officials, replay rules to blame

A fumble recovery would have set the Eagles up in the red zone to start the game. With the Eagles being shut out in the first half of a game they lost in overtime, that was obviously a huge call.

Common sense dictates that the ball belonged to the Eagles. But officials screwed up on the field by ruling Lewis down. At that point, the outcome of the play was left to the stringent rules of replay that sometimes don’t allow common sense to prevail. This was one of those cases.

There was clearly a pile of Eagles defenders on the ball. An Eagles player walked away with the ball. But Lewis was pile-adjacent while the ball was loose and appeared to have his arm reaching toward the ball, which is the only explanation for what was going on in the replay official’s head for determining that there was not a clear recovery.

Grugier-Hill was upset too

Grugier-Hill concurred.

“They just said that the video didn’t show me getting up actually with the ball, but it was clear I had the ball, so I don’t understand, “Grugier-Hill said. “It was all green jerseys. It was all green jerseys.”

Nobody could reasonably watch that replay and not believe that the Eagles came away with the ball. So the Cowboys caught a huge break that may have determined the outcome of the game.

Jenkins’s outrage at the replay official who made the decision may be misplaced. It’s understandable to see how that official was hamstrung by the rules of replay.

But there’s no denying that Jenkins’ outrage was righteous.

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