PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 08: Head coach Wade Phillips of the Dallas Cowboys late in the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on November 8, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Cowboys won 20-16. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
For the sake of closure, head coach Wade Phillips offered his take on the fourth-and-inches stop in the fourth quarter on Sunday, a play wherein Donovan McNabb--according to the officials, and most Cowboys fans to be sure--was stopped short of the first down marker on a QB sneak.
The play, and the review that confirmed the initial call, gave Dallas the ball on downs. Donovan McNabb, predictably, felt that he was over the line--in fact, according to the Dallas Morning News, he "felt like half [his] body was past the marker''
Phillips says that he wasn't, and that the Cowboys' initial push off the line of scrimmage made sure of it. This is a wholly unsurprising sentiment from a head coach who, it's very likely, reaped the benefits of a generous spot.
What is surprising, somewhat, is his assertion that the play wasn't even so close.
"We had a special defense ready for that,'' Phillips said. "I was on the side where he sneaked to, and it was obvious he didn't make it. Surprisingly, he didn't reach the ball out. If he had reached the ball out farther, maybe it would have been closer. He actually lost a little bit. Our guys knocked him backward.
"He fell on the pile, which wasn't as far as where the ball was originally.''