Upon further review, Pederson hints loss could’ve been avoided
PHILADELPHIA >> The Eagles’ 2423 loss in Detroit had yet to settle for a full day, but there was Doug Pederson Monday, questioning some of its validity.
In a rare day-after critique of the officiating, the Eagles’ coach swallowed, took a breath and alleged that the lost fourth-quarter fumble that tilted the game should have been permitted.
“It’s a dead ball out of bounds,” Pederson said, at his day-after news conference at the NovaCare Complex. “That’s the rule.”
With 2:41 left and the Eagles leading, 23-21, Ryan Mathews fumbled toward the sideline. Tyrunn Walker recovered at the Birds’ 45, and the Lions used the turnover to begin the gamewinning drive to a field goal. However, one replay showed that the in-bounds ball had hit the leg of Jason Kelce, who was sprawled on the field, half out of bounds.
It is Pederson’s contention that when a live ball touches a player who is out of bounds, the play is dead. The replay officials apparently did not see that angle. Thus, instead of the Birds being able to punt, the Lions were in possession, in Eagles territory.
“That was one of the things I wanted to make sure this morning that I was correct and accurate in that ruling,” Pederson said. “It’s just one of those things.”
He did stop short of blaming the officials for the loss … or even that particular play.
“We can’t cough the ball up,” he said.
Pederson said he spoke with the Eagles’ manager of football compliance, Jon Ferrari, but ultimately decided that there was not much that could have been done.
“He is very versed on the rules, and he and I talked about it,” the Birds’ coach said. “We actually discussed it during the game because these situations come up throughout the league, and we see video of this kind of stuff all the time.
“It’s obviously a turnover. So it’s a booth review, and it’s out of our hands.”
Pederson did say that the Birds would alert the NFL office of certain plays that they found worthy of review.
“Well, we’ll send a few clips in from this game,” he said. “But again, that’s not why we lost this football game.”
While frustrated, Pederson acknowledged that the review would not have been necessary had Mathews not dropped the football.
“You’d usually like to carry it on your outside arm,” he said. “Jordan Matthews had a block kind of get blown up there. Lane (Johnson) was pulling around the edge, and Detroit made a tremendous play and just kind of caught us in a bang-bang situation.
“But ideally, I think as a runner, you would want to carry it in your outside arm.”
That was hardly the Eagles’ sole mistake. They were penalized 14 times for 111 yards, while the Lions were flagged twice for 18 yards.
“We almost overcame it and won it, and that’s a tribute to the football team and the way the guys battled,” Pederson said. “We battled. We hung in there. And the defense played outstanding in the second half. We made plays on offense and had a chance to win it with two minutes to go in the game.”
They had one, too, with 2:41 left.
“I’m not going to get into the officiating,” Pederson said. “We have to play smarter, obviously.”