Doug Pederson defends decisions following Eagles loss

By Ed Kracz, The Sports Xchange
Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson walks onto the field during an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys on November 11 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Photo by Derik Hamilton/UPI
Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson walks onto the field during an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys on November 11 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Photo by Derik Hamilton/UPI | License Photo

Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins will likely get fined for some of his critical comments about the officiating by Clete Blakeman and his crew in Sunday's overtime loss to the Dallas Cowboys, particularly when he said that whoever in New York reviewed the challenge of a Dallas fumble and an Eagles recovery on the opening kickoff of the game "should stay off the bottle."

Head coach Doug Pederson won't be forking over any money. He refused to rip the officials, even though there were several key calls that went against the Eagles. The Cowboys also couldn't have been overly thrilled with Blakeman and his team, either, given that they were flagged 11 times for 111 yards.


Following the game, Pederson refused to criticize the refs.


On Monday, he stood by his postgame statement.

"I'm not going to sit here and criticize," he said. "That's not my place. We have an opportunity, we have a protocol that we can use to turn in plays on a Monday. Listen, I know it doesn't help us. It doesn't change the output of the football game.

"It is what it is there. But there are plays that we want to get a ruling on and just see if what we thought was correct or inaccurate. And so we've done that on several plays. We're still waiting on some input back on that. It was just unfortunate."

Also on Monday, Pederson defended his play call on a key third-and-1 that saw quarterback Carson Wentz run an option play to the short side of the field with running back Josh Adams. Wentz didn't pitch the ball and lost a yard.

"It was a well-designed play," said Pederson. "We anticipated in their short-yardage front for No. 90 (Cowboys DE Demarcus Lawrence) to spike and to come inside of (RT) Lane (Johnson). That's what we expected, a pirate stunt. We were going to combo between him and (TE) Zach (Ertz) up to the backer and then we were going to basically just option right off No. 38 (Cowboys S Jeff Heath).


"It's third-and-1 and Carson could have dove and got the first down, but No. 90 didn't spike. He actually stayed on Lane's outside. Just a great play by the Cowboys."

Another in-game decision by Pederson was called into question as well, and that was the decision to keep the PAT on the board rather than try for a two-point conversion and possible win after the Eagles' Darren Sproles caught Wentz's third touchdown throw of the day with 1:39 to play. Jake Elliott, who missed a PAT earlier in the game, made this one to even the score at 23-23, but the Cowboys were flagged for a penalty, giving the Eagles the choice to put the ball at the 1-yard line and go for two or stay with Elliott's made PAT.

Pederson opted to take the penalty yardage on the kickoff and keep the score tied, even though the Eagles are five-for-five this season in two-point conversion tries.

Pederson said the Eagles talked about going for two during the penalty timeout, but mentioned that a report in the team's possession favored going for one.

"With Dallas having a minute and 39 seconds I think left with two timeouts, it changes," he said. "Follow me here, okay? Two situations. (The first is) go for two. Obviously, you make the two-point conversion and you're up one, right? Dallas has two timeouts and every down available to stay on the field and kick the game-winning field goal, right? Obviously, if we don't make it, chances are game is probably over, right?


"(The second situation is) we kick it, we tie. Now Dallas still has two timeouts. Now, they're not as likely to go for it on fourth down, right? There is a chance now fourth-and-8 that they say, 'You know what? We're going to punt the football.' We only have one timeout at the time with maybe no time left and you're still playing for overtime.

"So the decision to go for one obviously favors us and gives us a better chance of winning that football game than it did for two."

--Pederson said the team was waiting on MRI results for running back Corey Clement and rookie defensive end Josh Sweat after both left with injuries.

--G Isaac Seumalo, head coach Doug Pederson said, will be day-to-day after suffering a pec injury in the game.

--RB Darren Sproles tied the game, 23-23, in the fourth quarter with a 6-yard TD reception. Sproles (35 years, 173 days), who has recorded a TD in each of his last two games (14-yard rushing TD on Dec. 3 against Washington), became the oldest Eagle to catch a TD since Mike Bartrum (35 years, 178 days) on Dec. 18, 2005 at St. Louis.


--Rookie TE Dallas Goedert registered his fourth TD of the season when he caught a 3-yard pass from Carson Wentz that knotted the score, 16-16, in the fourth quarter. Goedert is tied for the third-most receiving TDs ever by an Eagles rookie TE with ach Ertz, trailing only Keith Jackson in 1988 and Charle Young in 1973, both of whom have six.

--DL Fletcher Cox (40.5 career sacks) surpassed Andy Harmon (39.5, 1991-97) for the most sacks by an interior DL in Eagles history (7th overall in team history).

--DL Brandon Graham appeared in his 124th career game with the Eagles, tying Clyde Simmons (1986-93) for the fifth-most games played by a defensive lineman in team history, behind Trent Cole (155, 2005-14), Ken Clarke (148, 1978-87), Vic Sears (131, 1941-53) and Hollis Thomas (126, 1996-2005).

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