Big Calls (And Non-Calls) Help Eagles Late

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia EaglesNick Foles had thrown his first interception of the season, and at a most inopportune time.

With just a few minutes left in the game and the Eagles nursing a three-point lead, Foles dropped back on 2nd-and-7 from the Eagles 34 and faced immediate pressure. He had a defender draped all over him but decided to try and force a throw to DeSean Jackson anyway. Bad choice. Patrick Peterson picked off the errant pass and had the Cardinals set up in Philadelphia territory for the possible go-ahead drive. But as the dust settled, sitting on the ground alongside all the fallen players was a yellow flag. Tyrann Mathieu had been caught holding Jason Avant, negating the play. Foles’ streak remained intact and, more importantly, the Eagles retained possession.

That was one of several critical plays down the stretch that hinged on a referee’s call (or non-call).




Arizona head Bruce Arians concluded his opening statement after the game by saying "refereeing did not determine us losing the football game. We didn't make enough plays." His players generally followed suit. But their body language in-game struck a much different tone.

"It went both ways," said James Casey, who was also involved in one of the defining moments late in the contest. "We had a couple big calls go our way at the end of the game  but that's the way it goes sometimes. A lot of times you're on the other end."

Let's take a look at the key moments:

The Peterson INT that wasn't

Avant was asked if he thought he was getting the flag.

"I was hoping," he said with a smile. "Listen to me, when it comes to pass interference I don't know what the definition is anymore. I was hoping, especially when I saw 21 [Peterson] with the ball in his hands. I just started looking around after Riley[Cooper]  tackled him and I looked back and there was a flag right where I was at, so I was like, 'Yes.' "

Avant explained that refs are calling the games differently this year overall, allowing defenders to be more physical with the receivers.

"They don't call illegal contact anymore. A lot of tusseling and things like that, they don't call. They don't call grabbing and pulling," he said. "If the ball is not thrown in your direction, it's not holding...Guys are getting away with a lot of stuff."

Mathieu was not so fortunate.

"I think it was a good play," said Mathieu. "I was just trying to be a good defensive back and was trying to get a good jam on him."

The Fletcher no-call

The greater leniency that Avant described may have helped Bradley Fletcher out on  Arizona's final offensive possession. On 4th-and-5 with under two minutes to play, Carson Palmer's  pass intended for Michael Floyd on the right side was broken up by Fletcher. The corner appeared to have his hands up around Floyd's shoulder pads initally. He re-engaged as the ball got to Floyd and was able to force the incompletion.

"We had a blitz on and I was holding my inside leverage and my ground," said Fletcher. "Then there was some contact at the break point, and I went and made a play."

The Arizona sideline was none too pleased with the referee's decision to keep the flag in his pocket.

'I could say a lot of things about [Arizona's protests]," said Cary Williams, "but it's the nature of the game, man. You've got helmets, shoulder pads. If the wide receiver is going to come up and play us physically, we're entitled to our space. If a wide receiver runs into me I'm entitled to get my hands up and defend. If I happen to hold, hey, it's part of the game."

Casey draws a holding call

The dagger came in the waning moments with the Eagles holding a three-point lead and facing a 3rd-and-4 from the Arizona 9. Foles rolled to the right and, with no options in the pass game emerging, kept it and fell to the ground to make sure he stayed in-bounds. Matt Shaughnessy was called for a hold on Casey. (An irate Daryl Washington was later whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct).That gave the Eagles a fresh set of downs, allowing Foles to take a knee to end the game.

"We were trying to run out the clock of course because all we needed was a first down," said Casey. "It was a similar play to what we ran earlier in the game when Zach [Ertz] scored a touchdown. We were trying to bootleg it and give Nick a run/pass option and get that first down and seal the game, and 91 just kind of held onto me and grabbed me and didn't let me get out on the route."

"Yeah, they held the crap out of him. Great call," added Chip Kelly. "They did. Watch it on film. He was supposed to run a route into the flat and there was no one else left. If they didn't hold him he would have been in the flat. I thought Nick made a good decision with the ball because he wasn't going to force it, we still wanted the clock to run unless we had a clean guy, clean, wide open. We were just trying to run to the edge with Nick and at least make sure we take some time off the clock."

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  • Hoopfan1

    The hold on jackson’spunt return was marginal, as was the block in the back by Avant on Mccoy’s run in the 4thqtr and a non call on a hold on a deep throw to cooper on left sideline, it all works out. I agree with Arians, they didn’t make enough plays to win.

    • Media Mike

      The hold on Jackson’s punt was horrible and the worst call all game.

  • Kevin

    Like most games, there calls/non calls on both sides. I thought cooper and avant we’re interfered with a few times, the last hit on Foles was close to a suplex after the whistle blew, Fitzgerald through a couple of picks and blocked early on a few screen plays. Either way, it happens. I am just glad they won and I love the effort of the defense. We just need to clean up how we play with a big lead — the running into a stacked box is not working. You hate to keep throwing, but you almost have too. I am wondering is it worthwhile to put Vick in on the last couple of series where it will be 90% run so you keep the QB run as a threat of a big gain.

    • GEAGLE

      They didn’t give coop the PI so as far as I’m concerned! they can cry me a river

      • PhilliePhanCT .

        Haha! Whenever the Coopster doesn’t come down with the grap he always pops up looking for PI. ‘Cause sixty percent of the time it works all the time.

        • BlindChow

          Maclin was the master.

        • Ron Swanson

          I mean, one time the defender was doing pull ups on Riley’s arm on top of never looking back to the ball. It should have been a very easy call.

          • GEAGLE

            Yeah the fact that he didn’t look back made it an easy call, ATleast it should have been easy

      • poetx99

        on cooper’s play, i knew he was held. because he only went up w/ one hand (and not the way that you would when going for a one handed catch). sure enough, on the replay, it showed the db hold his left hand down and that’s why he couldn’t bring two hands up. should have been a flag, but, as has been said, the no calls went both ways.

  • PhilliePhanCT .

    Watch the Chippers press conference…the “held the crap outta him”. Lol!! Flippin’ Chipper is snarky as h3ll at the podium. In Chip We Trust!

    • GEAGLE

      He wouldn’t answer Les bowans negative question to start the press conference!!!Les is a clown.
      ..
      FOles gave McManus some great answers so an article is on it’s way for sure :)

    • jon h

      what happened with the first question in the PC? I saw it on NBC and apparently he dissed Les (which I find very funny) – any insight there?

      • GEAGLE

        He said he wanted to answer a positive question first and would answer Les second…Les is a clown, and Kelly always owns him…can’t wait til that worthless hack gets laid off. It’s not fair that an idiot like him ges credentials to ask questions

        • PhilliePhanCT .

          Isn’t the first time he’s put a reporter in his/her place. I love the flat “no” response to an obviously stupid question that could be answered by a little insight or fact checking. Can’t tell you how refreshing it is after the constant throat clearing of AR. You could see him doing it on the Chiefs last drive. I bet the over/under on # of AR throat clears during the press conference is…like…143.

  • TheGhostofNormVanBrocklin

    My new motto with this team is “Why Not Us?” Every other year we get the shaft on those calls. Hell, we did get the shaft on the overturned incomplete pass when they scored on a drive that should have been fourth down on that play. But every year some team gets hot. They get some lucky breaks. The ball bounces funny for them. They execute and win games they “shouldn’t”. So…Why Not Us? Raise your hand if you thought either of those last two Giants teams that won the Super Bowl were the best team in the conference that year…not one hand is up right now. Two years ago the Giants were 6-5. They got lucky, they got hot, they won it all. Not saying we are winning a S.B. this year but hell…Why Not Us?

    • GEAGLE

      We just gota get hot, stay humble and hungry!!
      ..
      I know none of us believe it..but Today, if you were to ask Cary Williams, he will tell you that he has winning a second Super Bowl ring on his brain..we don’t believe that! but as long as our guys believe that..I seen crazier stuff happen…
      ..
      Herremans will tell you that they knew we had a better team then people gave them credit for.

      I’m not sure that the giants had a better offense then we have potential for the year they won
      ..
      Healthy team that doesn’t turn the ball over while forcing TO’s can win games
      ..
      Keep momentum and beat the Lions…and I’m all in! Because the Vikings and bears are getting smacked around, and if Tony has to win or go home against us! he will enter that game with a week of Choking talk hanging over his head!!

    • NineseveN

      I think the thing with the Eagles this year is they’re really on the cusp of something pretty significant. What Chip Kelly and Bill Davis have done with someone else’s talent is definitely special. I think this team has the potential to be an upset going into the playoffs, but it would take a series of fortunate events to get us to the big game. We’re just not that good right now, but we are pretty close to being competitive at that level (NFC championship). We have enough talent on Offense, to get there I think. If the defense stays as hot as it is, who knows? It’s really not out of the realm of possibilities with the coaching staff we have. Aside from the Seahawks and the Saints, there’s really no one in the NFC that scares me in a playoff game.

      The good thing about these games is that the team has learned it can win close games against talented teams. I’d like to see a couple of come-from-behind victories as far as learning experiences go, but the fan in me would rather they just blow everyone out of the water from here on out.

    • jon h

      Agree – this seemed very similar to the SD game earlier this year, except our growth as a defense. If we played this game in Sept, we would have lost – if we played SD now, we would win. Not sure what that really means outside of the world of hypotheticals, other than no one expected us to double our win output from last year, and we’re just one win away from doing so. Let’s hope the Redskins can show up against Dallas and give us a nice Xmas present.

  • GEAGLE

    Eagles winning, sixers losing which is the plan, and the flyers actually might have found a goalie? Pinch me…am I dreaming. If the pelicans don’t make the playoffs I will do backflip!!!

    Rueban Amarro better get his weight up

    • Andy124

      At this point I think the only move I trust Amaro to make for the Phillies is to fire Reuben.

      • GEAGLE

        Basically….

      • A Roy

        Sooner the better.

    • cliff henny

      Davis out with broken hand too. cant believe the biggest issue with eagles right now is figuring out how to play with double digit leads.

    • nicksaenz1

      Ruin Tomorrow Jr gotta go! He’s TERRIBLE!

    • Token

      Mason always had the talent. Its mental with him. Maybe hes finally come back around. Hes playing well. Bobrovsky hasnt played as well this season so far. Which takes a bit more of the sting out of that whole thing.

  • GEAGLE

    How about a reporter ask Cary Williams??after witnessing Flacco coming into his own and get hot at the right time, how he thinks FOles compares? Someone please ask him!!

    • nicksaenz1

      hopefully he doesn’t. can’t stand Flacco.

  • @PhilthyBird215

    wait just a minute, what about all the calls that went their way in this same game?
    – Riley Cooper getting grabbed on the left side line
    – the call that negated a Desean Jackson punt return for a TD.
    – on the same drive a call on Avant that Negated a long gainer by Lesaen.
    on and on…….
    these things happen in every game, lets not make this game an exception.
    can we talk about the stunt Nick Foles tried to pull with that flicker to Desean with a defender draped all over him? i really thought the game was over then. till i saw the flag. that was a bone head decision.
    I will take a W tho. Good win.

  • Jim

    I hate how all these Cardinals fans are blaming the refs, let’s not forget the blatant hold on cox who was coming right through the middle of the line and about to sack Palmer, that play resulted in a TD. No call on the cooper pass interference, djax punt return, multiple missed offensive pi’s on cards and the blown review

  • Max Lightfoot

    Yeah, they got away with a few but do did we. All’s fair in love and football.

    • cliff henny

      got that right! next year i’ll be little tougher on ugly wins. 7-5, after last couple yrs, that was a thing of beauty.

  • Max Lightfoot

    I think da Bears (they’re not a great team, but they’re not a bad team, either) could upset the Cowgirls next week, and we might be able to bag the Lions at home, if we play over our heads a bit. We need some luck down the stretch! Go Eags!

    • Brian

      The problem is… the opposite is more likely to happen. Though I obviously hope you are right.

  • theycallmerob

    This is BS. Just got back to Bmore, and I have no voice since I spent 3 straight hours screaming at the ref. That crew was horrendous, most likely DAL fans. ARI got every call for the first 56 min, they need to shut their holes and get the f*ck back on their plane

    • cliff henny

      you get gimmick offense chant going?
      .
      big one is casey’s hold i guess, but, score is probably 27-21, still need to drive field with 45 secs no TOs, certainly not a sure thing…it’s not same as Pats vs Panthers call. if casey wasnt held, then coleman’s wasnt either, at least his had nothing to do with play. Avants, while annoying, didnt change score, Eagles still had ball and 1st down. and Fletcher’s 4th down, if that’s called PI, nfl will have basketball scores. recr never got any seperation, basically 2 guys standing there.
      .
      for the most part, when scores was 24-7/14, refs were calling everything AZ’s way, seemed like a conscious effort to keep it a game.

      • theycallmerob

        mentioned in the other thread, 2 guys in my section got ejected in the 3rd for threatening the ref. absolute disgrace, absolutely tried to keep them in the game- DJax return was absurd. We all knew from his first step…
        Tried the “gim-mick off-ense” after the first TD, but it seemed the gentry was mostly sticking with the trusty “A$$-HOLE” chant for the zebras. Sec. 121 had a nice “Billy Davis” chant going before halftime.

        • cliff henny

          take the refs out, eagles were the better team. play cards 10 times at home, think eagles win 7, 8 if chungs not on field-F he sucks. if eagles executed on any 2nd down plays in 2nd half, it was a walk away.

          • Jason

            Chung is really good at friendly fire and letting sure picks go through his hands.

        • Brandon

          Wow didn’t know you could get ejected for that. How close were the guys doing it?

      • nicksaenz1

        Waiting for the NFLs Tim Donaghy to get busted soon.

  • theycallmerob

    college offense? or bush league defense?

    (…pic courtesy of kempski- http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/red_zone/Handing-out-10-awards-from-the-Eagles-Cardinals-game.html)

    • Token

      It doesnt get much more blatant than that. Moose must feel like a idiot this morning.

      If he doesnt hold that a easy first down for Casey.

    • @PhilthyBird215

      grate picture.
      Moose is a jack ass. he should answer why he disagreed with the call. pontification extraordinaire!

  • JofreyRice

    “Yeah, they held the crap out of him. Great call,” added Chip Kelly. “They did. Watch it on film.”

    Haha, I’ve been a little reluctant to jump onto the Kelly soundbyte bandwagon, but that is an awesome f!cking quote.

  • anon

    I think regardless of calls i think it’s annoying that this is the second game where we’ve been crushing it to get stalled in the second half and nearly blow a lead. That’s on the offense. T. Law made a point that teams are just manning up and putting 7 in the box and we aren’t able to beat it. Sounds a lot like what was going on when Vick was in. I’m surprised between Cooper and D.Jax they can’t beat man — glad to see Foles was able to get the TEs some love today.

    Foles had some ugly throws. I think he’s Alex Smith with a better arm and slower legs, but I’ll take that considering we haven’t turned it over in a hot minute.

    • anon

      that said our defense is bananas b-a-n-a-n-a-s. sconces with another big play.

  • Dutch Bird fan

    Although the big calls at the end helped out the Eagles, if the refs had done their job they would possibly not even have mattered. To give you a few examples:

    – Blatant hold on Kendricks on the play where Fiztgerald scores the TD. 7 Points that should have been negated.

    – Major Offensive Pass Interference (pick play/holding) on the play where Dray scores his TD. Allen – the one responsible for covering Dray – was taken out by the TE/WR coming in, before and while the pass was being thrown. Avant has been called earlier this year for the same kind of play (on a bubble screen). Pick plays are illegal.

    – The PI by Carmichael that set up the play above in the first place was no worse than what Mathieu did to Avant.

    – The ticky tack block in the back that negated the McCoy long run, which would have brought us in FG range.

    – The holding that negated the DeSean TD, Though technically correct, the Cardinal held was already completely out of the play.

    So these officiating decisions, that could equally should have been different, make for a 24 point swing in favour of the Cardinals.