Refs Impact Colts-Eagles Late with 1 Missed Call and 1 Questionable Penalty

Indianapolis fans were fuming at NFL officials Monday Night. Sports fans getting angry at refs is nothing new, but the Colts have a couple of legitimate gripes thanks to one missed call and one questionable penalty during the crucial final five minutes of the game.

The Eagles were on the road for Monday Night Football and escaped with an impressive win over a playoff team from 2013 and the favorite to win the AFC South again this year. But while the comeback was highlighted by the work of Chip Kelly's offense and the explosive play of Darren Sproles, there were two misses by the refs that played a major role in the outcome.

The first was a missed penalty on Eagles defensive back Brandon Boykin. We heard so much about the officials emphasizing illegal contact and holding penalties on the defensive backs downfield this season. The persistent barrage of flags for these infractions made the typically bland NFL preseason even more intolerable.

SB Nation's Danny Kelly outlined all the ways the refs were clamping down on the different kind of contact defensive backs use to perfect their craft, and how what was once legal was now going to be illegal. There's certainly some gray area, but based on the guidelines we were working with from the preseason, this should have been a penalty on Boykin as T.Y. Hilton made his dig. It probably was a penalty even before this year's emphasis. Instead of the flag, the Eagles got an interception at the perfect time, right as the Colts were driving to make it a two-score game with under five minutes to play.

Down 7, the Eagles converted the turnover into a game-tying drive. A big boost to that drive was this horsecollar penalty on LaRon Landry, which came just two plays after the missed call on Boykin.

Landry clearly pulled him by the back of his jersey, but McCoy did come down in the typical way a player would on a horsecollar tackle. The play, coming so soon after the Boykin-HIlton contretemps, further enraged Colts fans and had ESPN talking heads incredulous during and after the game. If that flag is not thrown, it's third-and-6 on the Eagles own 28 -yard line. The penalty gave them a fresh first-and-10 at the 43, and they tied it up three plays later.

The Colts, of course, had another possession to break the tie and they quickly gave it back to the Eagles for their game-winning field goal drive. So there were events after this sequence that the Colts could have prevented, but these two calls certainly gave the Eagles a much better chance of pulling even in the final five minutes of the game.