Dak Prescott’s throwing to a well-covered Michael Gallup had found his goal along the sideline and put the Dallas Cowboys in position within the 20 to kick a potential routine basket equalizer with 21 seconds left Sunday night against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium Debut.
But there was a flag on the game.
Gallup had made illegal contact with Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey, according to the official, and the offensive pass interference nullified the 47-yard catch. Replays appeared to show fairly standard contact before Ramsey pulled his head and upper body back.
“I can tell you that on the pitch it was clear and evident, of a hand in the opposing player,” said referee Tony Corrente in defense of the call. “A full extension of the arm that created separation. In all situations that would be called. We will not allow this at any point in the game.”
Mike McCarthy, who made his debut as the Cowboys head coach, said he was surprised by the moment of the call and that Gallup and Ramsey were both fighting on the left sideline.
“I was surprised that there was a call either way,” McCarthy said. “Obviously I’m very disappointed with the call, especially at that hour. You don’t see him in a critical part of the game.”
Other Cowboys vehemently disagreed.
Ramsey was equally convinced it was the right choice.
“If they hadn’t called that, I would have been really upset,” Ramsey said. “It was as clear as day, in my opinion.”
Two plays later, Prescott’s fourth and 20 pass fell harmlessly to the ground while Dallas only managed to reach 15 yards in the final 10 plays of the game. The Rams resisted to win 20-17.
“It was a great opportunity,” Prescott said. “We had a nice two-minute lap at the end of the time. We were still able to move and make progress, but we didn’t. But it was game 1.”
Information from Todd Archer and ESPN’s Associated Press was used in this report.