The Los Angeles Rams were flat-out embarrassed by the Dallas Cowboys on the road in Week 15 in what was essentially a must-win game.
Prior to this star-studded matchup, it seemed as though the Rams had all the momentum on their side coming in off back-to-back wins. The botched coin flip prior to kickoff almost solidified that notion after it was announced that the Cowboys would be kicking to start both halves.
It was not long before the game got out of hand and Los Angeles was hoping an extra possession on offense to start the second half would help spark a potential resurgence. Unfortunately, the officials ultimately opted to give Dallas the ball back.
NFL senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron said the officials had always planned to go back and take a look at the botched call during halftime, via Sam Farmer of the L.A. Times:
“If you look at what happened and you see that the Cowboys actually say three different things,” Riveron said, “and then we hear at the end where they say ‘defer.’ So we go ahead and look at it. We pulled the audio. We knew that I was going to have a conversation with Walt Anderson at halftime to make it right.”
Rams quarterback Jared Goff added that officials had confirmed to them that they would be getting the ball again throughout the first half, which caused for confusion when they were told the ruling was reversed:
“I don’t know how or why or what happened,” Goff said. “But we had talked to the referees the whole game in the first half, and we were told we would get it in the second half. I don’t think it would have changed much with the outcome of the game, but it was a little weird, definitely.”
Although it was unfortunate that the officials suddenly opted to acknowledge the mistake they made, there is certainly plenty of truth to Goff’s comments. Even if Los Angeles had another possession, it likely would not have made much of an impact in the 44-21 loss.
The Rams did not have anything to hang their hat on after being thoroughly beat down in all facets of the game. As a result, any hope they had for the playoffs has effectively been dashed with two games left in the 2019 NFL season.
It is no secret that both teams had fallen vastly short of the expectations they set in the offseason. Whether or not giving them the ball back was the right call, there is no denying that Dallas came in with a much bigger sense of urgency to take control their own postseason fate.
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