Allen Park — The call was controversial, an unnecessary roughness flag thrown against Detroit Lions defensive end Romeo Okwara, giving the Dallas Cowboys a first down and setting up a 39-yard screen pass touchdown at the end of the first half of Sunday's game.
Okwara, rushing off the right side, got a hand on Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who stumbled and dropped to a knee. He quickly popped back to his feet, and without the whistle blowing, Okwara continued his rush and popped the quarterback hard, drawing the flag.
A day after watching the play, Okwara said he's moving on, but didn't feel there's much he could have done differently.
"I pulled off, but I hit him with too much force," Okwara said. "I just think it's a call that's hard to make. They made a decision to go with it."
Lions coach Matt Patricia echoed his player's opinion.
"It’s a hard play," Patricia said. "It just unfortunately is what it is on the field. We just have to continually try to coach it up as far as hearing the whistle, we have to pull off . ... We’re trying to make sure we do a good job there of not having any penalties or the situation that kind of surrounds those guys. It was a hard play on the field, I thought, seeing it live. I thought it was real close. Obviously, the officials saw it a certain way, it is what it is.”
Roughing the passer often carries a fine topping $20,000, but Okwara is optimistic he'll avoid having his paycheck docked once the league reviews the infraction.
"I'm not expecting one," Okwara said. "Honest. If I get one, I'd be surprised."