NFL

Arizona coach Arians claims officials erred on 15 plays

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The Canadian Press
12/2/2013 4:53:12 PM
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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona coach Bruce Arians says there "were obviously very, very many problems" with the officiating in the Cardinals' 24-21 loss at Philadelphia.

Of particular concern were three plays near the end of the game.

One was a holding call on safety Tyrann Mathieu that negated Patrick Peterson's interception. Another was a holding call on linebacker Matt Shaughnessy on the Eagles' final possession. A third was a no-call when the Cardinals felt there was pass interference on a fourth-down incompletion to Michael Floyd the last time Arizona had the ball.

Asked if he felt the calls will cost the Cardinals a playoff spot, Arians said, "It possibly could, but I think a lot of things have to happen here in the last four weeks. I would hope that we give up all that talk this week and just focus on the St. Louis Rams."

The Cardinals (7-5) are home against the Rams next Sunday.

Arians said he sent "about 15 plays" to the NFL for review by Dean Blandino, the NFL's vice-president of officiating.

"The proper channels have been followed," the Arizona coach said, "and obviously there were very, very many problems" with the officiating.

Arians said Blandino "does a great job. He's very honest with it. I've already gotten most of the answers. I got them before I left the locker room yesterday."

Arians declined to share what he was told, but asked if he gets any satisfaction from those answers, he said, "No, I just get madder."

The Cardinals had rallied from a 24-7 deficit to cut the Philadelphia lead to 24-21 when Peterson intercepted Nick Foles' pass at the Eagles' 43 with four minutes to play. But Mathieu was called for holding on the play. It would have been the first interception Foles has thrown this season.

Arians said "there's no doubt in my mind" that the Cardinals would have scored had Peterson's interception stood.

"We (had) just put a good drive together," Arians said, "and only needed 10 yards for a field goal to tie it."

The Cardinals did get the ball back at their 10-yard line with 2:03 to play. But on third-and-five from the 15, Carson Palmer missed an open Andre Roberts, then on fourth down, Palmer's pass to Floyd was incomplete.

The Eagles took over on downs and, on third-and-four from the 9, Shaughnessy tackled Foles for a loss but was called for holding, giving Philadelphia a first down and the ability to run out the clock.

"He (the Philadelphia player) was blocking Matt on a bootleg play," Arians said. "Matt threw him to the ground and sacked the quarterback. ... It happens every time a guy tries to block you and you sack the quarterback. It was one of those problems (with the officiating)."

That's the way Shaughnessy saw it, too.

"He was blocking down on me, and I was fighting the pressure, pushing him outside and he tried to release," Shaughnessy said. "I threw him down and then I went after the quarterback. I thought it was a sack."

Linebacker Daryl Washington drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for complaining vehemently about the call.

Mathieu avoided any complaints about the call against him when he spoke to reporters on Monday.

After the game Sunday, the Arizona rookie said he thought "it was a good play. I was just trying to be a good defensive back and was trying to get a good jam on him."

Even if mistakes are acknowledged by the crew headed by referee Tony Corrente, nothing can be done about it now.

"As long as everybody owns up to it, you move on," Arians said. "It's part of the game. We're here working our tails off this week. Those guys (the officials) are back at their other jobs."

Officiating aside, Arians said the Cardinals, who fell a game behind San Francisco for the final NFC wild card spot, made too many mistakes early against the Eagles and regressed after a four-game winning streak.

He said the team can't afford to dwell on what happened in Philadelphia. Going into the game against St. Louis, Arizona has lost eight straight against NFC West foes, including three this year.

"If we're ever going to do anything, we better start winning our division," Arians said. "That's our only focus this week. I don't want to hear about anything else in our locker room except winning a division game."

Notes: RB Andre Ellington, who missed Sunday's game with a knee injury, won't practice Wednesday, Arians said. "I'm hoping to have him out there Thursday and Friday, but we're not going to rush him," the coach said. "He's too young and too valuable to cause a long-term problem."

Bruce Arians (Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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