via Tonyman, Sunday, Dec 15th, 2013 9:08 PM-(AP)
"The Cardinals defense let up in the fourth, and Fitz did everything he needed to do to get back in the game. We did the best we could as well, but in the end we just couldn't do enough to overcome the Cardinals when it mattered," said Pete Morelli, the Head NFL referee.
Early in the second half the visiting Cardinals appeared to have the game in control, and it seemed to come to a head early in the 4th when the Cardinals built a seemingly insurmountable 17-point lead. But slowly the Titans and the officiating crew crept back in the game to make it competitive, particularly in the fourth quarter. "We did our best all game long, " Morelli added. "When the Titans were down and not producing on offense, we did what we could to get them back in the game. We shut down at least two Cardinals offensive drives. We really pushed it when the Cardinal defense stepped it up, but gave us a chance to continue a 16-play drive with four [officiating] first downs. These were difficult plays. Only one of these was a gimme- we really had to get creative out there to make those calls."
Ultimately, despite an incredible performance from Ryan Fitzpatrick and the officiating crew to come back from that 17-point deficit and force overtime, the refs came up one miracle call short. On 1st and 10 from the Arizona 43 yard line, Fitzparick threw an interception while being pressured to Antoine Cason at the Arizona 30 yard line. Morelli Added, "I got the crew huddled together for almost five minutes after that play. We thought of everything we could to overturn the interception. There just wasn't any call within the rule book we could make. We knew that was really our last shot to win it." After the interception the Cardinals moved the ball down the field quickly to set up Jay Feely's game winning 41-yard field goal. Morelli concluded, "At the end of the day, we left it all out on the field. I can sleep well tonight knowing we made all the calls we could to help the Titans. But sometimes, all you've got just isn't enough. You have to give some credit to the Cardinals for their play tonight."
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Presser