- Calvin Watkins, ESPN Staff Writer
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KANSAS CITY -- One of the biggest plays of the Dallas Cowboys-Kansas City Chiefs game on Sunday occurred in the fourth quarter.
As the Chiefs were trying to run out the clock late in the fourth quarter, quarterback Alex Smith threw a third down pass toward Donnie Avery. Morris Claiborne reached around Avery and knocked the ball down, but the referees called a pass interference penalty on Claiborne.
The call, with 2:28 remaining, extended the Chiefs' drive and while they eventually punted, it took time off the clock and the Cowboys didn't get the ball again until 16 seconds remained in the game. Dallas trailed, 17-16, when they got the ball back.
"They made a play and got a good call, I guess," Claiborne said of the penalty. "I don't remember it too much. I must have. They said I interfered with him, that was the call. I can't take that back, that's what they saw. I'm always surprised when the throw the flag especially when they come in late like he did and they call it."
Replays showed that defensive tackle Jason Hatcher may have tipped the ball away, which would have allowed Claiborne to touch Avery. But the penalty raised other questions about Claiborne.
Should Claiborne have let Avery catch the ball, seeing it was third and 10, and made the tackle, given the receiver was diving for the ball?
"It ain't how we play," Claiborne said. "When you're out there at corner your not trying to give up on nothing, you want to be aggressive and that was an opportunity I thought to make a play and be aggressive and they just called a PI."
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett and defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said they needed to see another replay of the call before deciding if it was a good or bad call. There were some close pass interference penalties during the game that could have gone either way. Dez Bryant was flagged for it and he drew a call.
But Avery was confident of the call he got on Claiborne.
"I knew we had it," he said. "It was just pitch and catch. He just held me and we got the call, that was big. (The game) is not over until you see 0:00. We just had to stay tuned in and keep the ball in bounds and we got the win."