Rams’ tailback Cleveland Gary was puzzled by the referees’ decision to reverse a pass interference call on a third-down play at the Falcon one-yard line in Sunday’s 20-13 loss to Atlanta.
The flag was picked up because the officials met and decided the pass from quarterback Jim Everett, lofted on the right side of the end zone for Gary, was uncatchable.
On the play, Gary seemed to have a step on his defender, was bumped as the ball was in the air and celebrated when the flag hit the ground.
“That’s the way the game goes,” Gary said. “I ran into the end zone, the ref said, ‘defensive pass interference,’ as plain as day and as loud as announcing something in the stadium. Then the referees get together. . . . “
Could Gary have caught it if he wasn’t bumped?
“Yeah, if he wouldn’t have held me,” Gary said. “When I was trying to get around, I had a clear path to the end zone. It’s just accelerate then. Accelerate and put your hands up. I didn’t have to do any more dipping or dabbing.”
Coach John Robinson said he didn’t have a clear look at the play.
“I was behind it,” Robinson said. “In the goal-line area, there’s not much room. Whether the guy held him and kept him from going for the ball, those are difficult calls. . . That was a decisive play obviously.”
The Rams ended up not scoring on the drive, because on the next play, Mike Lansford’s field goal attempt was blocked.
Meanwhile, Gary, who led the Rams with 39 yards in 14 carries after watching Gaston Green start for the second consecutive week, said he felt like he was finally over his fumbling plague. Before being pushed out of the starting lineup, Gary had fumbled 11 times and lost seven of them.
“I felt fine,” he said. “It’s behind me. Didn’t fumble, did I?”
Always talkative Falcon Coach Jerry Glanville was pleased with his defense’s performance.
“I thought our defense did a great job of getting after the quarterback,” Glanville said. “I don’t think we hit anybody harder than we did today. We knew the effort would be there, but you’re playing against an excellent quarterback with excellent receivers.
“We were lucky enough to pressure the quarterback, so he didn’t hit many of them today.”