ARLINGTON, Texas – The replacement refs gave Jerry Jones, a hard-line NFL owner, reason to continuing praising their otherwise oft-criticized performances.
The refs robbed the Buccaneers of a touchdown with a quick whistle in the third quarter.
Tony Romo fumbled when he took a big hit on a sack by Tampa Bay’s Michael Bennett. Bucs cornerback Eric Wright scooped the ball off the turf and ran untouched into the end zone, but the officials originally ruled that Romo was down when the ball came loose.
That ruling was overturned after a replay review, giving the Bucs the ball, but not the points.
“The rule says when you do challenge and win you get it at the spot of the recovery,” Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano said. “You don’t get the advancement. That’s the rule.”
The Bucs got the ball at the Dallas 31, but Tampa Bay’s inept offense moved backward from there. The Bucs punted after an intentional grounding penalty and two incompletions by quarterback Josh Freeman.
The touchdown would have given the Bucs the lead. Instead, the Cowboys got the ball right back, a turning point in the game.