Referee Pete Morelli says penalty wasn't called for

Referee Pete Morelli said that no penalty was warranted following a controversial no-call where Dallas Cowboys rookie linebacker Anthony Hitchens was initially flagged for pass interference while covering Detroit Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew.

After Morelli announced the penalty, the call was waved off.

The Cowboys scored the game-winner on the enusing possession.

"The back judge threw his flag for defensive pass interference," Morelli said in a pool report. "We got other information from another official from a different angle that thought the contact was minimal and didn't warrant pass interference. He thought it was face guarding."

Face-guarding is illegal in college football, not the NFL.

It was the back judge, Lee Dyer, who threw the flag. Then, head linesman Jerry Bergman overruled him.

"The information came and then the officials got together a little bit later after it was given to me, the first information," Morelli said. "It probably would've been smoother if we got together."

The Lions are furious.

"I thought it was ridiculous, to be honest," Pettigrew said. "But there's nothing I can do about it ... He ran through me pretty much, trying to get back to the ball. To me, it was obvious. To them they made whatever call and picked up the flag."

As for Hitchens, he had a different take: "I was just trying to play defense and I felt like it was the right call."

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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun

Aaron Wilson
Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post, his second stint at the Post. He has previously written for Pro Football Talk and FOX Sports-Scout. Entering his 13th year covering the Baltimore Ravens, he's a beat writer for The Baltimore Sun. Wilson has also covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans.

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