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Players, Coaches & More React To Officials' Decision To Pick Up Flag, Negating P.I. Call

ARLINGTON, Texas – This game had a fourth-quarter rally by Tony Romo and a dramatic touchdown to Terrance Williams.

It had a clutch sack and forced fumble that was fumbled right back to the Lions. Then it had another sack and fumble to win the game.

But the Cowboys' 24-20 win over the Lions will be remembered for an incomplete pass and a flag that was picked up off the turf.

On third-and-1 midway through the fourth quarter, the Lions led 20-17 and seemed to get a first down via penalty when Anthony Hitchens was flagged for pass interference trying to cover Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew.

Not only did they call the foul, but announced it as well, which typically is the end of the discussion and time to move to the next play. But after another meeting with the officials, the refs then announced the flag was waved off and it set up a fourth down.

The Cowboys got the ball back and eventually scored to take the lead. 

Here's some of the quotes that came from both locker rooms and even the officials' locker room as well.

Referee Pete Morelli:

"The back judge threw his flag for defensive pass interference. We got other information from another official (head linesman) from a different angel that thought the contact was minimal and didn't warrant pass interference. Face-guarding is not a foul. It is a penalty in college but not in professional football."

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett:

I saw it like the three officials around the play saw it, not like the guy who was 50 yards away.

Cowboys WR Dez Bryant:

I just want everybody to know, I don't have nothing to do with that. Jumping on my Twitter, I love to get on my Twitter and see the reaction. I see a couple of Eagle fans – I don't know why they talking. There's a lot of hate, and I understand – we are the Dallas Cowboys and we going to get that. I thought it was a bad call.

(on running onto the field) "The ref really wasn't even listening to nothing that I was saying. I just gave them my opinion – I thought it was a bad call. He was blocking me out, he was telling me to get back."


Owner Jerry Jones:

"I thought at that juncture of the game that was getting pretty picky. That's obviously a critical play, and I thought that Hitchens was doing a good job and did a good job of covering him all the way down the sideline without really interfering with him. So they've got to use some discretion, and they did by picking the flag up. I've never seen one get that far into the next play and ready to go again and have it reversed, but I think that's a good thing. If we're going to stop action and we're going to have replay and we're going to have interpretation from New York – which I'm all for – and we're going to do all that, then we might as well get 'em all right. And, again, I think they made the right call in terms of not calling it. That's why they picked it up. It's not supposed to be."

Lions head coach Jim Caldwell (on getting an explanation from the refs)

"Not good enough.  Not a good enough…I'm going to leave it at that. I'm not going to sit up here and act like that was the call that made a difference in the game.  We still had our chances."

Lions QB Matthew Stafford:

"Yeah, I thought it was a good call at first. I was told he did not make contact with the receiver. I thought it was the right call until he picked up the flag. I thought it was a penalty, but that's not my decision. It's a big play in the game. If we get those yards, then maybe we can score a touchdown and put the game out of reach. It's their decision. I don't have to understand it."

Lions TE Brandon Pettigrew:

"I thought it was ridiculous, to be honest. But there's nothing I can do about it. He ran through me, pretty much, trying to get back to the ball. To me, it was obvious. To them, they made whatever call and picked up the flag. I don't know what to say about that."

Lions C Dominc Raiola:

"I've never seen anything like that. I've never seen a PI overturned. I don't know who overturned it. It looked pretty cut and dry. But they made the call."

Lions WR Golden Tate:

"I don't know if I'm just not educated enough on the rules, but I thought once the ball had been spotted, it was done. I thought that if you were going to overturn it, it was going to be talked about right away before you moved the ball. I know the jumbotron could show it four or five times and then they overturn it. But, you know, that's what happens when you're on the road. We've got to stay out of that situation. Point blank. End of story. We've got to find a way to not leave it up to the officials or the other team having a home field advantage."

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