Dallas radio host Bob Sturm tells it like it is – and even he didn’t like the reversed pass interference call on Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens in Sunday’s 24-20 playoff win over the Lions.
“I didn’t like the call,” Sturm – 1310 “The Ticket” host – said on Ferrall on the Bench. “I certainly didn’t like the way the officials put the call out there in terms of explaining it, picking up the flag – it’s all odd. I certainly did catch the way that it did look like a little hand-fighting on both sides. I did think (Brandon) Pettigrew had Hitchens’ face mask, but I’m not so big of a homer that I would argue that Hitchens did not deserve a penalty there. So yeah, whoever’s team is getting screwed is the one who’s yelling the loudest, and certainly in Dallas everyone was okay with it, you know?”
The Cowboys, who were down 20-17 when the flag was thrown, scored the game-winning touchdown on their next drive, with Tony Romo throwing an 8-yard score to Terrance Williams with 2:32 to go.
Still, Sturm doesn’t feel that bad for the Lions.
“I’ll go back to this,” he said. “I don’t get Jim Caldwell for not going for it on 4th-and-1. (Why) are we punting at the 41 when Detroit’s won one playoff game in 57 years? You’re punting from the opposing 40 when you got a chance to drive a dagger into the heart of the Cowboys with eight minutes to go? That seemed a little crazy to me, too. That call was bogus. We can all agree on that. The degree to which it was, we can hammer out.
“But man, there’s a lot of football to play after that,” Sturm continued, “and the Lions scored a grand total of three points in that second half. I mean, I don’t believe the Lions deserved to win that football game. So, was it a bad call? Yeah, but they scored on their first two drives of the game and that was pretty much it for (Matthew) Stafford and that offense the entire day.”
Of course, even if a penalty wasn’t called on Hitchens, one certainly could have been called on Dez Bryant, who bolted onto the field when the flag was thrown and argued with officials that Hitchens didn’t do anything wrong.
“It’s pretty dumb,” Sturm said. “I love what Dez Bryant brings to the table, but he’s out there on the numbers. It’s not like he’s on the sideline, one foot on. He’s out there at the numbers, he has no helmet on, it’s a defensive possession – he had no business out there. So it was a pretty brain-dead play on his part. And you’re right, it doesn’t affect the game, but they would have every right to throw a 15-yard flag on Dez Bryant. So if you want to talk about a blown call, I would argue that one’s a bit more egregious even though it doesn’t affect the integrity of the game.”
As it stands, Dallas plays Green Bay at Lambeau Field this Sunday at 1:05 p.m. ET, with the winner advancing to the NFC Championship Game.