ARLINGTON, Texas — Normally reserved coach Jason Garrett was initially unsure why he penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct in the Dallas Cowboys‘ 34-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers, and Jerry Jones was exasperated when he learned it was for abusive language.
“Apparently he didn’t like how I threw the [challenge] flag,” Garrett said.
Side judge Scott Edwards made the call on Garrett, and in a pool report referee Ron Torbert gave the reason for the penalty.
“It was for abusive language toward an official,” Torbert said.
When that explanation was relayed to Jones, the Cowboys owner and general manager expressed his irritation.
“Oh, I hope the little darling didn’t hear something he hadn’t heard before,” Jones said. “We should all stop the wheel over that if he got [a penalty for] abusive language.”
With four seconds left in the third quarter, Amari Cooper was ruled to have been out of bounds on a pass from Dak Prescott, however, replays showed he was able to get both feet down, requiring Garrett to use his final challenge of the game.
“We had already challenged a potential pass interference earlier [and] you know in that situation you have to use the flag to get the call corrected and you’re not going to have one for later in the game,” Garrett said.
“Obviously, I didn’t handle that situation as well as I should have. I knew we were going to get the play because I saw it and unfortunately we had to use that flag there. And he made the decision to throw a flag on me.”
Garrett’s frustration stemmed from a 39-yard pass interference penalty on cornerback Anthony Brown earlier in the third quarter.
“The standard is very high for them to overturn,” Garrett said. “That was more of a situational challenge. I don’t think it was pass interference. If I thought it was pass interference I wouldn’t have thrown the flag, but understanding the standard is high because of the situation, you have to give yourself a chance. … Oftentimes when you slow it down, things look a little more magnified than they are. I know it’s hard to get those things overturned, but it’s too big of a play not to do it.”
The Packers ended that drive with Aaron Jones‘ fourth rushing touchdown of the day to take a 31-3 lead. The Cowboys managed to cut the deficit to 14 points in the fourth quarter, but a third Prescott interception made chances for a miraculous comeback even more difficult.
“I saw what everyone saw,” Prescott said. “Seeing guy very handsy. No call. Move on.”
Garrett said it was not his place to comment when asked if he felt it was a poorly officiated game. Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott spoke carefully after the game about the officiating.
“I’m never going be the guy to go out there and be like, ‘Hey we lost cause of the refs,'” Elliott said. “At the end of the day we gotta look in the mirror as a team and realize we shot ourselves in the foot too many times. It wasn’t the refs. I mean, they weren’t perfect, they weren’t great, but we gotta look in the mirror and see that there’s a lot of things that we could’ve done or fixed that we could’ve done to win that ball game. Not just look to blame the refs.”
Players defended Garrett after the game.
“I love it when coach Garrett does things like that,” defensive linemen Tyrone Crawford said. “He deserves to do whatever he needs to do for this football team and whatever he feels like. No one should question that. If you do, if you got a problem with it, then you’ve got a problem with all of us. That’s just how it is with us.
“We’re not worried about what people are saying outside of this. We’re a family in here, and that’s how it’s going to go. Period.”