The Eagles had the Lions on the ropes on Sunday. All they had to do to escape with a come-from-behind road win in Detroit was convert a first down. Even punting the football would’ve been preferable to what actually happened — a Ryan Mathews fumble that led to the eventual game-winning field goal.
Philadelphia wound up losing the game, 24-23, after that Mathews fumble, although the team believes maybe it shouldn’t have. At his day-after press conference, Doug Pederson said the Eagles think the loose ball touched center Jason Kelce while he was out of bounds, which should’ve resulted in a whistle blowing the play dead before the Lions could recover. Pederson added they are sending the play to the NFL for review.
Of course, the league already did review the play, as all turnovers are subject to. Officials didn’t see anything to overturn the call on the field at the time, and after going back and re-watching the tape in super-slow motion for myself, I’m not sure how much they will find that’s new, although the all-22 coaches tape is not yet available to the public. It would’ve been nearly impossible to see that in real time, that’s for sure.
It’s very possible the ball did touch Kelce while he was out of bounds, and the overheard view from the all-22 tape may prove that definitively. Or it may not. The Eagles seem to think they have some evidence though.
Even if they do, what would that really change? The NFL isn’t going to take the victory away from the Lions and give it to the Eagles. Nor did the officiating crew or league do anything wrong with the review. There wasn’t enough evidence to overturn the call on the field at the time.
Most of all, none of this will take away from the fact that if Mathews had just held on to the ball, or if the Eagles played better the previous 57 minutes, none of this would even matter. As hard as it must be to swallow losing in that fashion, it’s over now, and the only thing the team should be worried about is moving on and getting ready for Washington next week.