Leighton Vander Esch was called for a weak personal foul after attempting to hit Anthony McFarland
Leighton Vander Esch tackled running back Anthony McFarland and the two seemed to get into it, even though the latter did more to seemingly draw a penalty. The refs decided to call it on the linebacker after he retaliated.
Leighton Vander Esch gets a silly penalty
This is a bit much considering McFarland was the one with his hand under Vander Esch’s facemask to begin with. Cowboys fans actually have a legitimate gripe here when it comes to how this was called by the referees.
The Steelers entered the day with a record of 7-0 and appeared to be the overwhelming favorites in the game. Vander Esch and the Cowboys defense has eliminated the Pittsburgh rushing attack and Garrett Gilbert has done enough on offense to keep the game competitive.
This is a huge game for the 2-6 Cowboys because of how wide open the NFC East remains at the halfway point in the season. But there is also a point in time when it is hard to fault a player for defending himself against someone trying to hit him in the head.
Unfortunately, calls like this do happen and can impact the game if the offense isn’t able to pull away.