After further review: Jets/Cowboys officiating

This season, we're going to have a post after each game that breaks down some of the controversial decisions from the officiating crew in the game.

Penalty Count

Cowboys 9-68 (leading to three Jets first downs)
Jets 8-105 (leading to four Cowboys first downs)

Plays where the call was obvious, uncontroversial or not visible on broadcast footage

  • Albert McClellan allows interior pressure on a punt and is called for holding as he grabs the rusher to prevent the block.
  • 20-yard pass interference by Chidobe Awuzie on Robby Anderson. Awuzie was in pretty good position, but pulled Anderson's arm away right before the ball arrived, to prevent him from making a play on it.
  • Antwaun Woods encroachment. Jumps into the neutral zone before the snap.
  • Maliek Collins obvious horse collar tackle to prevent possible touchdown run by Sam Darnold. (Was actually incorrectly attributed to Woods).
  • Clear pass interference by Byron Jones on Demaryius Thomas in the end zone. Pulled down on Thomas' arm as the ball was arriving. Third penalty in eight plays on the drive.
  • Illegal formation on Dallas. Eight men on the line of scrimmage following a pre-snap shift. Negated 15-yard play that would have set up 1st-and-10 at the 21.
  • Cameron Fleming called for holding on Brian Poole on an outside run. Didn't matter anyway, as the third down play was blown up by Marcus Maye so the penalty was declined.
  • Ryan Kalil called for holding to negate a third down conversion to Jamison Crowder. Fair call, as he tackled his man to the floor after a good initial interior pass rush move.
  • DeMarcus Lawrence jumps offside.

Penalties warranting further discussion or explanation

  • Holding call on Kelvin Beachum. (Originally attributed to Conor McDermott, who was inactive). This one seemed harsh. Beachum was leaning on his guy and may have reached behind him in an effort to reposition himself as Bilal Powell cut back. But was there any sign of a grab or hold? It didn't seem like it. Offensive linemen obviously just can't afford to let their arms go to the outside of their frame, especially with such a flag-happy crew working the game. You be the judge:


  • The offensive pass interference call to negate a Dallas touchdown was a controversial one. While Tony Romo and Dean Blandino both seemed to think it was a harsh call, Cedrick Wilson clearly ran a route that impeded Jamal's ability to stay with his man. The fact that Trumaine Johnson made contact with him a split second before should be irrelevant because Adams was already blocked off with Wilson clearly initiating that contact.
  • Holding on Ryan Griffin. This play went nowhere, but it seemed like a really weak call on Griffin, who seemingly repositions himself well to angle off his man on the outside. For once, the Jets overcame this holding penalty to extend the drive.


  • Offsetting penalties on Sam Darnold's 24-yard scramble. Robert Quinn was called for offside and Brandon Shell was called for holding. (Originally attributed to Jonotthan Harrison, who wasn't in the game at the time). Quinn wasn't offside at all, but maybe his hand was just in the neutral zone at the snap. Shell was beaten around the edge and did seem to hook Quinn.
  • Kyle Phillips roughing the passer. (Originally called on Steve McLendon, who wasn't in the game at the time, the fourth such error by this crew). Maybe a bit of a bang-bang play and perhaps a situation where it would have been hard for Phillips to put on the brakes, but his clean hit was forceful and slightly late and those will usually get called. If anything it's surprising that was the only roughing call the Jets had because they got some big hits on Dak Prescott, including one where Phillips landed on him.
  • Finally, there was the last drive which saw penalties on six consecutive plays. Darryl Roberts was called for pass interference as he bumped the receiver on an in-breaking route. That seemed fair. Illegal contact on Brian Poole followed next (declined anyway) and again this is hard to dispute although it did seem like a bit of a flop and Poole protested the call. Blake Cashman was then called for pass interference downfield on Zeke Elliott. He didn't really look round for the ball and definitely made contact on Elliott's shoulder to affect his ability to make the catch before the ball arrived. This was close to being excellent coverage, but once again the penalty is justifiable. Next up, the Jets got a couple of calls in the other direction as Leonard Williams was tackled to the ground by Connor Williams and Darryl Roberts was blocked in the back by Michael Gallup. In each case, the call was fine but the penalty seemed unnecessary as neither had much effect on the play. The streak ended with a pass interference call on 1st-and-27 to give Dallas a first down and set up their last touchdown. This seemed harsh, as Jamal Adams seemed to break the pass up cleanly, but he did make contact with the receiver a split-second before the ball arrived. On the same play, though, Leonard Williams clearly led with his helmet as he hit Prescott, which - if called - would have given Dallas the first down anyway.

Although most of these calls were okay, they do tend to be of the kind where officials in the past might have "let them play" but now the sceptre of a possible replay review seems to make them reluctant to do so. But of course we know that any challenge to these calls would probably have been ignored.

Notable no-calls

There were plenty of missed calls in this game. Here's a few obvious ones:

This one didn't matter, because Dak Prescott scored anyway, but Leonard Williams has to break this habit of lining up in the neutral zone a few times every game. On this occasion, nobody noticed.

This one did matter, as you can see the right tackle is already in the process of dropping back into his stance before the ball has been snapped. Dallas converted here on 3rd-and-9 and went on to score their first touchdown four plays later, but this should have been a false start.

This one worked in the Jets favor. Clearly the time had run out before Dallas snapped the ball on 3rd down at the end of the first quarter. The pass was incomplete, but the play never should have counted and Dallas should have got a second chance to convert on the first play of the second quarter.

There was also a flag that was picked up after a Jets punt. On the play Arthur Maulet appeared to be blocked in the back, but the Dallas player did the "who me?" thing with his hands and that was convincing enough for the officials to change their minds.

There was another bad missed call on a receiver screen where Shell made an athletic block on the outside, but it was as clear of a block in the back as you'll ever see. The officials missed it.

Finally, could Marcus Maye have been called for pass interference on the failed two-point conversion? Based on what went before, he easily could have been, but it would have been a bad call. Aside from the ball not being catchable, the receiver had initiated the contact to box out Maye who is entitled to hold his position.