Sport: Official explains why face mask penalty wasn’t called in Eagles’ 32-21 loss to Commanders

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PHILADELPHIA – The Eagles had the ball with 9:14 left in the fourth quarter of Monday night’s game against the Washington Commanders, finding themselves down 23-21 but in possession of the ball, needing only a field goal to take the lead.

Philadelphia Eagles S Marcus Epps (22) and CB Darius Slay (2) try to tackle Washington Commanders RB Brian Robinson (8) during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. © Tim Hawk/nj.com/TNS Philadelphia Eagles S Marcus Epps (22) and CB Darius Slay (2) try to tackle Washington Commanders RB Brian Robinson (8) during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. Philadelphia Eagles TE Dallas Goedert (88) spikes the ball after catching a touchdown pass vs. the Washington Commanders at Lincoln Financial Field, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. © Tim Hawk/nj.com/TNS Philadelphia Eagles TE Dallas Goedert (88) spikes the ball after catching a touchdown pass vs. the Washington Commanders at Lincoln Financial Field, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022.

Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts threw a pass to tight end Dallas Goedert, who began to run up field, but was brought down by a face mask, fumbling the ball that was later recovered by Commanders defensive tackle John Ridgeway and ran it in for a touchdown. However, a replay official ruled that Ridgeway was touched at the 34-yard line, and the ball was brought back to that spot.

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Philadelphia Eagles DE Brandon Graham (55) talks to Washington Commanders QB Carson Wentz (11) after a game at Lincoln Financial Field, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. The Commanders beat the Eagles 32-21. © Tim Hawk/nj.com/TNS Philadelphia Eagles DE Brandon Graham (55) talks to Washington Commanders QB Carson Wentz (11) after a game at Lincoln Financial Field, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. The Commanders beat the Eagles 32-21.

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Philadelphia Eagles RB Miles Sanders (26) runs vs. the Washington Commanders during the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. © Tim Hawk/nj.com/TNS Philadelphia Eagles RB Miles Sanders (26) runs vs. the Washington Commanders during the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022.

The drive ended with Commanders kicker Joey Slye making a 55-yard field goal, giving the Commanders a six-point lead, and changing the complexion of the game. Eventually, it led to the Commanders winning 32-21. The missed face mask penalty seemed to take some of the air out of the Eagles’ bid to mount a comeback.

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Philadelphia Eagles WR DeVonta Smith (6) is congratulated by T Lane Johnson (65) after catching a touchdown pass vs. the Washington Commanders during the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. © Tim Hawk/nj.com/TNS Philadelphia Eagles WR DeVonta Smith (6) is congratulated by T Lane Johnson (65) after catching a touchdown pass vs. the Washington Commanders during the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022.

After the game, referee Alex Kemp was asked by The Athletic’s Zach Berman, who served as the pool reporter for the game, what went on during the play.

Philadelphia Eagles QB Jalen Hurts (1) throws a pass vs. the Washington Commanders during the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. © Tim Hawk/nj.com/TNS Philadelphia Eagles QB Jalen Hurts (1) throws a pass vs. the Washington Commanders during the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022.

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Philadelphia Eagles WR DeVonta Smith (6) fumbles the ball on the last play of the game for a Washington Commanders touchdown at Lincoln Financial Field, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. © Tim Hawk/nj.com/TNS Philadelphia Eagles WR DeVonta Smith (6) fumbles the ball on the last play of the game for a Washington Commanders touchdown at Lincoln Financial Field, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022.

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Philadelphia Eagles DT Milton Williams (93) jumps for an attempt to block a field goal vs. the Washington Commanders during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. The score put the Commanders ahead 26-21. © Tim Hawk/nj.com/TNS Philadelphia Eagles DT Milton Williams (93) jumps for an attempt to block a field goal vs. the Washington Commanders during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. The score put the Commanders ahead 26-21.

“We didn’t see a face mask on the field,” Kemp said. “As far as the review, we were reviewing whether he was down by contact or whether it was a fumble and then whether the Washington player who recovered the ball was also down by contact.”

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Philadelphia Eagles WR Quez Watkins (16) catches a pass as he is defended by Washington Commanders S Darrick Forrest (22) during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. Watkins fumbled the ball on the play and it was ten covered by Forrest. © Tim Hawk/nj.com/TNS Philadelphia Eagles WR Quez Watkins (16) catches a pass as he is defended by Washington Commanders S Darrick Forrest (22) during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. Watkins fumbled the ball on the play and it was ten covered by Forrest.

There is no telling what would have happened during the rest of the drive or if the face mask penalty would have resulted in the Eagles taking the lead and not giving it up.

Washington Commanders CB Benjamin St.-Juste (25) forces Philadelphia Eagles WR Quez Watkins (16) to fumble the ball after a catch during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. © Tim Hawk/nj.com/TNS Washington Commanders CB Benjamin St.-Juste (25) forces Philadelphia Eagles WR Quez Watkins (16) to fumble the ball after a catch during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022.

Still, because the penalty was not called, the Commanders took advantage of the situation, put up points, and the Eagles had to focus on scoring a touchdown instead of a field goal. The Eagles were downplaying the call after the game, stating that they should not have let it be that close to put the game in the hands of the officials.

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni looks at the clock vs. the Washington Commanders during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. © Tim Hawk/nj.com/TNS Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni looks at the clock vs. the Washington Commanders during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022.

“Whether it was a face mask or whether it wasn’t a face mask, it’s hard for them to see at that time. I get it,” Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said after the game. “We have to protect the ball better, and we didn’t do a good job of that all game. We were loose with the football, and it came out and they got it.”

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Philadelphia Eagles TE Dallas Goedert (88) remains on the ground after being hit and fumbling the ball vs. the Washington Commanders during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. © Tim Hawk/nj.com/TNS Philadelphia Eagles TE Dallas Goedert (88) remains on the ground after being hit and fumbling the ball vs. the Washington Commanders during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022.

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Philadelphia Eagles WR DeVonta Smith (6) spins out of a tackle attempt by Washington Commanders CB Benjamin St.-Juste (25) and scores a touchdown during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. © Lori M. Nichols/nj.com/TNS Philadelphia Eagles WR DeVonta Smith (6) spins out of a tackle attempt by Washington Commanders CB Benjamin St.-Juste (25) and scores a touchdown during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022.

Chris Franklin may be reached at [email protected].

Philadelphia Eagles WR DeVonta Smith (6) spins out of a tackle attempt by Washington Commanders CB Benjamin St.-Juste (25) and scores a touchdown during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. © Lori M. Nichols/nj.com/TNS Philadelphia Eagles WR DeVonta Smith (6) spins out of a tackle attempt by Washington Commanders CB Benjamin St.-Juste (25) and scores a touchdown during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022.

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