Philadelphia Eagles' Doug Pederson defends decision to not challenge Wilson's pitch
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson dazzled throughout a 24-10 win over the Eagles on Sunday night, but several experts believe one of the signal-caller's top highlights should have drawn a yellow penalty flag -- or, at the least, a red challenge flag from Philadelphia coach Doug Pederson.
Pederson, though, chose not to have officials review Wilson's downfield pitch to running back Mike Davis that helped Seattle picked up a crucial first down in the fourth quarter. And he defended his inaction Monday when reporters fired question after question about the play at a mid-afternoon news conference in Costa Mesa, California.
Here's how the play went down: With the Seahawks leading 17-10 and facing a third and 9, Wilson scrambled across the line of scrimmage. As two defenders closed in on the 5-foot-11 quarterback, he toss the ball to his right to Davis, who was streaking down the field and picked up the first down.
That was a forward pass, but hat tip to Russell Wilson. pic.twitter.com/P7k95hhgND
-- The Bitter Birds (@AdrianFedkiw) December 4, 2017
Wilson would not have been allowed to toss the ball forward because he crossed the line of scrimmage, but referees declined to call a penalty because they believed the ball sailed laterally. Fox Sports NFL referee analyst Mike Pereira chimed in on Twitter to say that if the Eagles challenged the call, replay officials would likely have ruled Wilson's pitch as a forward pass that would have drawn a penalty and led to a fourth down.
Let me clear up the illegal forward pass last night. It was forward and illegal since it was beyond the line. It was caught so the play remains alive. The fouls is 5 yards from the spot of the foul and loss of down which I think would have forced a punt. (more)
-- Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) December 4, 2017
Instead, Pederson kept the red flag tucked away, as the Seahawks extended their drive and soon rolled into the end zone for a touchdown to push the lead to 24-10. That held up as the final score.
Pederson never backtracked on his decision, despite the end result. He said he consulted with two Eagles representatives in a CenturyLink Field booth watching replays -- director of football compliance Jon Ferrari and coaching assistant Ryan Paganetti -- and made a split-second choice to not challenge the play, because he wanted to protect his timeouts.
At that point, Philadelphia had already lost one second-half challenge when Pederson contested the spot of a third-down catch wide receiver Torrey Smith hauled in.
"Watching it live, and then the information I gathered and was getting -- I had already used a challenge in that quarter, and then the risk of losing a timeout in those situations, I just didn't feel it was the right time, for me, to make that decision to challenge it," Pederson said.