Upon fur­ther re­view, Ped­er­son hints loss could’ve been avoided

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Jack McCaf­fery jm­c­caf­fery@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Jack­McCaf­fery on Twit­ter

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.”

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