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Dez Bryant Catch That Was Overturned Is The Talking Point Play In Cowboys 26-21 Loss To Packers

Was it a bad call, justice served for last week, or did the NFL get it right?

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

[UPDATE:] The NFL has come out and stated that this ruling was correct, it's the Calvin Johnson rule. So, we'll concede the point, and have already come to terms that the Cowboys loss was the result of multiple things, not this one play. Still, it's a little heart-breaking. Here's the process rule:

The rule: The oft-cited "process rule" of the NFL rulebook has surfaced many times, most famously to deny an apparent touchdown catch by the Detroit Lions' Calvin Johnson in 2010. Here is what Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3, Item 1 reads: "If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball throughout the process of contacting the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete."


The Dallas Cowboys were faced with a 4th-and-2 at the Green Bay 32 with 4:42 left in the game. The score was 26-21 in favor of Green Bay. Dallas had a decision to make. They could have tried a roughly 50-yard field goal, but Dan Bailey had already had one blocked and hadn't looked his normal self on a cold day. Dallas could have punted and tried to get the ball back. Or they could go for it.

Last week, they went for a 4th-and-6 and converted it. Jason Garrett was roundly praised for the decision and Dallas went on to win the game. So Dallas rolled the dice again and went for it. But instead of taking something short over the middle to Witten or maybe trying to pop Cole Beasley open in the slot, the Cowboys went for the home run ball. Tony Romo dropped back and put it up for Dez Bryant who was being covered one-one-one. Initially, it seemed as if the roll of the dice had paid off. Bryant made a circus catch and was ruled down at the half-foot line. Dallas looked to be in position to take the lead late in the game. But on a challenge from Green Bay, the call was reversed. The Cowboys would never see the ball again and lose.

Instantly, the play became a point of controversy just like last week's picked up flag on pass interference in the Lions game. Was the NFL correct to overturn it? Did they miss it? Here's is a Vine of the play.

From a biased Cowboys point of view, it sure looks like Bryant controls the ball, takes a couple of steps, and makes a football move by reaching out for the goal line with the ball. He could have just cradled the ball into his chest and hit the ground. Instead he tries to get the touchdown by reaching for the goal line. But the refs ruled he didn't make a football move and the ball popped loose and overturned the call.

See update above where the NFL clarification is the correct interpretation, they did rule correctly and this interpretation of a football move doesn't influence the call.

A few NFL players couldn't believe the overturned call.

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