Cowboys miffed about fumble recovery, review

Nov 16, 2009 - 2:45 AM By COLIN FLY AP Sports Writer

GREEN BAY, Wis.(AP) -- Dallas Cowboys coach Wade Phillips says officials told him that they made a mistake trying to review a fourth-quarter fumble that appeared to be recovered by Felix Jones before being scooped up by the Packers.

Phillips said referee Jeff Triplette acknowledged that he shouldn't have allowed the play to be challenged.

"They said because they ruled it a fumble all the way through, that I couldn't challenge it even though we recovered the ball and our guy was touched and he knew the guy was down," Phillips said. "He said it's just not, it's something with the rule that you can't challenge."

With Dallas trailing 10-0 with just under 12 minutes to go, Tony Romo fumbled on a late blitz by Packers cornerback Charles Woodson. It appeared Jones recovered the ball, rolling over with it when Packers defensive tackle Johnny Jolly ripped it out of his arms. Packers linebacker Clay Matthews III later recovered it at the Cowboys 3.

Green Bay scored three plays later to take a 17-0 lead and won 17-7.

Triplette accepted Phillips' challenge flag, but told a pool reporter he immediately began thinking that the Cowboys couldn't challenge the play even before he spoke to replay officials.

"It starts going through your mind, I'm not sure we can review this. And then I started thinking about by rule, you can't review a recovery of a loose ball in the field of play," Triplette said. "It was my mistake to allow him to start the challenge. I should have just talked him out of it before we started."

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says he understands why the rule doesn't allow for review of possession of fumbles, but that there should be room for exceptions.

"I know why they have it because so many times there are piles and scrums so it gets really hard to see," Jones said. "But that wasn't a play out in the middle of the field where you'd have a scrum."

Triplette said he never looked at the film before realizing his error.

"My mistake, that's not a reviewable aspect of the play," he said. "A recovery of a loose ball in the field of play is not reviewable by rule. So, we just couldn't review."

Dallas was not charged a timeout on the play.

The Cowboys also thought Green Bay should have been called for a delay of game after attempting to challenge a call for the third time. The Packers had lost an earlier replay challenge, meaning they could not use a third.

"I'll have to ask the league," Phillips said. "Any challenges left, when you challenge to stop the game, it kind of helps you regroup. I thought it was at least delay of the game."

Triplette did not address that concern to the pool reporter.






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