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Refs Miss Big 'Late Hit' Call On Tony Romo In Monday Night's Game

On the biggest play of the game Tony Romo gets no respect from the ref's.

Tom Pennington

I don't want to be "that guy". You know who I'm talking about; the fan that insists the refs jobbed his team, no matter what evidence you point to the contrary. Football is never about a single play; you may get a bad call, but there are many more plays in the game to recover and make up for it.

That being said, the ref's jobbed the Dallas Cowboys.

The biggest play of the game occurred early in the second quarter. Dallas was driving down the field and ran a play-action pass hitting DeMarco Murray in the flats. Murray turned what seemed a rather nondescript play into a big one by getting into the open field and tacking on about 30 yards after the catch, taking the ball down into the red zone. At the end of the run, he refused to go down, as four or five Redskins piled on top of him. And then, of course, the ball came out, and the Redskins recovered. In a game that goes into overtime, those lost points, (there is very little chance Dallas comes away with nothing without the turnover), cost the Cowboys the game.

Now at first I was upset because I was sure Murray's forward progress had been stopped by at least the third Washington player jumping on him. But no, the ref's did a good job there; when I broke down the film you can clearly see Murray pushing the pile on foot at a time, (he eventually picks up about another yard and a half from the initial contact to the fumble).

The refs did a good job making sure Murray wasn't down. Unfortunately they did a horrible job of watching Tony Romo. Let's go to the tape:

Romo hit 1

The play starts out perfectly. You can see both linebackers, (red circles), are "frozen" by the play action fake (yellow arrow).

Romo hit 2

This is beautiful. Romo has an absolute wall in front of him. The linebackers don't seem to know what's going on, as Murray is leaking out of the backfield undetected. The only player who could possibly make a play on Murray, (red arrow), is backpedaling, with his hips facing in, meaning he would have to completely turn around to make a play on DeMarco.

Romo hit 3

And this is where it starts to get ugly. Notice three things. First, the ball, circled in yellow. It has clearly left Romo's hands. Next, the ball's distance from the hashtags, illustrated by the yellow line. We'll get back to that. Lastly, notice the Redskin player, who is falling down and has not yet touched Tony Romo.

Romo hit 4

Again, three things. The ball, clearly in the air. The yellow line, getting longer. And a Redskins player who has barely touched Tony Romo, (look at Romo's stance), is down on one knee, and has no more momentum going forward.

Romo hit 5

We can see in this picture that the ball has moved farther along. We can also see a Redskins player who has now wrapped up Tony Romo's legs and is pulling him down, (look at Romo's arched back). Remember, the ball is now a good 2 seconds out of Tony's hands.

Romo hit 6

Here we have the good and the bad.  Let's start with the good; in the yellow circle we can see that Murray has caught the ball and is turning up-field with tons of running room.

The bad: A Redskins player has taken Tony Romo to the ground and rolled on top of him. Notice how no one else on the line is even moving? That's how late this hit is. Not only is he late, but he goes after the legs which is a penalty in itself.

So my question is,  how exactly did the refs miss this? The answer: You can see the ref in the picture above isn't even looking. Isn't there an emphasis on QB safety?

We should be looking at a first down brought on by penalty. Instead, it's a fumble and Redskins ball.

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