During the Dallas Cowboys' 16-10 victory over Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers had what should have been a scoop-and-score touchdown by cornerback Eric Wright nullified by an early whistle by the replacement referees.
On the play, Tampa defensive end Michael Bennett got past tight end Jason Witten and right tackle Doug Free to deliver a thunderous hit on quarterback Tony Romo. The ball came free but officials initially ruled that Romo was down by contact and blew the play dead while Wright was trying to collect the ball in the open field.
After replay review, the call was overturned and Tampa got the fumble recovery. But because the play was blown dead on the field, the return into the end zone did not count. Tampa took possession at the Dallas 31 yard line and wound up punting.
Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy downplayed the significance of the call but acknowledged it was a missed opportunity.
"There were a lot of different opportunities that we missed," McCoy said. "They blew it dead. But the refs, they are doing a great job. Everybody wants to complain ... We got what we got. People just need to accept that the refs ... are trything their hardest. No ref wants to go out there and just make a bad call. Everybody wants to give them a hard time. Just accept who we have and just play the game. Stop complaining so much."
_ Jimmy Burch