Sunday was frustrating for many Miami Dolphins fans, players, and coaches. But one player in particular felt the most frustration postgame.
When asked by reporters about his thoughts on the overturned DPI call on a 3rd and long play, Nik Needham did not mince words.
“Honestly, it’s just trash," Needham said. "Like, we had a chance to win the game, and so, that’s it…”
It’s not the fact there was evidence of defensive pass interference on the play. Replay does show Needham wrapping his arm around the receiver's shoulder pads. It was the manner in which the penalty was called.
The Jets were faced with 3rd and long, nowhere close to field goal range, no timeouts. In other words, almost no chance of getting into position to win the game. However, in odd fashion, the game clock stopped, and the referees seemed to take a lot of time to get the ball back to the line of scrimmage, and wait for a signal to restart the clock for the Jets to run their inevitable 4th and long Hail Mary.
Keep in mind, the game was played in New York. Guess where the replay officiating crew is headquartered? Just saying. But I digress.
After what seemed like an eternity, the officials stop the clock and review the play for defensive pass interference. To the complete dismay and shock of Coach Brian Flores and the rest of the Dolphins, the call was overturned. Not only did this give the Jets extra yardage, but more importantly, a brand new set of downs to help Sam Darnold get the Jets into field goal range to kick the winning field goal.
Needham added that officials “didn’t call anything all game until the last play,” and many will note the inconsistency of NFL vice president of officiating Al Riveron, citing “clear and obvious” evidence of interference on this play when so many other replay reviews have allowed similar no-calls to stand.
However, Coach Flores understands that wins and losses aren’t based on just one play.
“Yeah, it was a tough game, hard-fought by our team." Flores said. "I’m proud of the way our guys played. They played hard. We had some guys go down, we had guys step in and make plays. We just didn’t make enough plays to win.”
Officiating has been under scrutiny since the beginning of the season. The Dolphins have not been the only team that have been hurt due to overturned calls, or in some cases, lack of overturned calls that maybe should have been.
In the end, Miami falls to 3-10 on the season. But it was a game that may go down as one with an asterisk for many Dolphins fans, especially against the rival New York Jets. This game may be a hard pill to swallow, but the Dolphins have two winnable games against Cincinnati and the Giants to look forward to. Both teams have losing records, and essentially, fighting for the #1 overall pick in April’s draft.
“Like Coach Flo said after the game, it’s a lot of other stuff,” Needham said. “We can’t just blame two plays or blame one person or blame one other guy. We could’ve all had a great game and not even have the game close like that.”
This story was written by Ozzie Delgado. Follow him on Twitter: @ozziedelgadojr
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