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Eagles blast 'ridiculous' call on opening kickoff

The Philadelphia Eagles appeared to gain momentum on the opening kickoff of Sunday's pivotal division tilt versus the Dallas Cowboys after Malcolm Jenkins popped the ball from returner Jourdan Lewis.

Eagles linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill appeared to recover the ball in the pileup. The officials originally ruled that Lewis was down by contact. After a challenge by Philly coach Doug Pederson, the referees determined that there was a fumble on the play but did not have clear evidence of a recovery by the Eagles.

Dallas kept the ball and wiped out a huge momentum-changing play.

After the game, the Eagles blasted the replay officials.

"That was a pretty terrible call, to be honest," Jenkins said, via NBC Sports Philly. "They reviewed it and the explanation I got was that it wasn't a clear recovery. Although Kamu had the ball in his hand and there were only Eagles defenders on the ball in the replay. Common sense ... you saw Kamu come out with the ball. Obviously, they don't pay me to make calls, but in hindsight, that was a big play in the game."

Based on the angles of the TV broadcast, it appeared the Eagles linebacker came away with the ball after a scrum which was mostly comprised of Philly players.

Grugier-Hill echoed Jenkins frustration over the call.

"I came up with the ball, so I don't understand," Grugier-Hill said. "Nothing you can really say about that. It's ridiculous. Obviously came up with the ball."

Referee Clete Blakeman attempted to clarify the call to pool reporter Calvin Watkins of The Athletic after the game and was asked about it appearing an Eagles player had recovered.

"Yes that was discussed so situationally we have a pile up," Blakeman said. "I mean it's really hard unless they have somebody with clear possession and control of it before the pile up of it before the pile up begins and we can give it to them. We just didn't have that on this one."

Who knows how the game would have unfolded if the referees seen what most of the viewing public believed it viewed and awarded the Eagles the ball deep in Dallas territory. Maybe the early-game malaise doesn't inflict Philadelphia. Maybe the flub forces the Cowboys to take more red-zone risks early, and they don't settle for field goals, kick-starting a back-and-forth tilt.

If ifs and buts were candy and nuts we'd all have a merry Christmas. They aren't. And the Eagles' Christmas isn't shaping out to be very joyous.

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