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NFL players, analysts blast controversial ‘in the grasp’ call against the Cowboys

For The Win logo For The Win 5 days ago Nick Schwartz
a group of people playing football on a field: File Photo © File Photo File Photo

Two key penalties at the end of the first half Saturday night in Los Angeles cost the Cowboys points at both ends of the field, as the Rams took a 20-7 lead into the locker room.

With the Rams facing a 3rd-and-14 at their own 45-yard line, Cowboys corner Byron Jones was flagged for illegal hands to the face away from the play, bailing out Los Angeles with an automatic first down. Two plays later, Todd Gurley broke free on a 35-yard touchdown run.

Dak Prescott had a chance to drive the Cowboys down the field to score before halftime, but after crossing midfield with less than a minute remaining in the half, the Cowboys were halted by a rare "in the grasp" call.

Rams' edge rusher Dante Fowler Jr. got a hand on the back of Prescott's helmet and attempted to grab onto his jersey, but Prescott was clearly trying to escape the pressure, and wasn't close to being tackled.

Here is the official "in the grasp" rule, per the 2018 NFL rulebook:

"The Referee must blow the play dead as soon as the passer is clearly in the grasp and control of any tackler behind the line, and the passer's safety is in jeopardy."

Cowboys lineman La'el Collins, it should be noted, may have broken a rule by wrapping his arms around Prescott while Fowler was attempting to grab him.

ARTICLE 4. OTHER PROHIBITED ACTS

No offensive player may:

pull a runner in any direction at any time use interlocking interference, by grasping a teammate or by using his hands or arms to encircle the body of a teammate.

Penalty: For assisting the runner, interlocking interference, tripping, or illegal use of hands, arms, or body by the offense: Loss of 10 yards.

The whistle killed the play, and the Cowboys punted on 4th-and-15. Many former players couldn't believe the call.

Cowboys superfan Skip Bayless had transitioned to ALL CAPS mode before halftime.

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