The Philadelphia Eagles (8-1) suffered their first loss of the season at the hands of the Washington Commanders (5-5) in a game that was surrounded by controversy.
Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham was flagged for an unnecessary roughness penalty for hitting Commanders QB Taylor Heinicke late after a unique kneel down.
A roughing penalty is called on Brandon Graham pic.twitter.com/A4zeDuoYmI— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) November 15, 2022
While many continue debate whether or not the officials got it right, nobody wants to see a hard-fought game between two divisional rivals end with an iffy call.
“I wish I could have that call back, but, at the end of the day, we wish we could have a bunch of calls back,” Graham said after the game. “We can’t put the game in the refs’ hands.”
Graham noted that he never received an explanation for why the flag was thrown.
On the other side, Heinicke went on The Pat McAfee Show to tell his side of the story.
“On that last play we just called Sticky. It was like, hey if Terry’s open, give it to him. If not, just take a sack,” Heine\icke explained. “So I took a knee there. I saw Reddick coming in and I was like ‘this might be a little too close’ and then I saw Graham coming in and I was like, ‘please hit me’ and sure enough he did.”
That play is extremely tough to defend, especially with the defense in desperate need of a stop. Graham failed to stop his forward momentum, and Heinicke strategically baited him into the late hit.
As a team captain, Graham knows that the only way to right the ship is by learning from their mistakes.
“For me, I want to make up for it by what I do next week, how I respond. I’m going to take that one on the chin. Of course, we are all just going to flush it and move on, but I’m definitely going to take that one and make sure I don’t let the team down in a situation like that.”
Brandon Graham goes into detail as he discusses the rough call that ended the game: pic.twitter.com/KQreOVWQIO— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) November 15, 2022
Featured image via Eric Hartline – USA TODAY Sports