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'Absurd,' Says Mike McCarthy of Penalties - So Cowboys Coach Calls the NFL Office

"I’ve already talked to the league this morning, and I anticipate a second conversation, maybe this afternoon.'' - Mike McCarthy.

Before the game, Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy told people he thought the outcome on a frustrating Thanksgiving covered in flags might come down to a decision from an overzealous refereeing crew.

And after the game, after it came true, part of his Friday morning business?

Tell it to the league.

The Cowboys were penalized 14 times for 166 yards in the 36-33 overtime loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. Dallas (7-4) continues to lead the NFC East despite losing two in a row and three of four ... but Dallas also leads the NFL in penalties.

And specific to this game, McCarthy thinks its a matter the league should look into.

“This game was totally off the trend line, as you can see as far as statistics,'' the coach said on Friday following the game. "I’ve already talked to the league this morning, and I anticipate a second conversation, maybe this afternoon.''

The penalty yardage set a Cowboys single-game franchise record. And the calls weren’t one-sided. Las Vegas (6-5) also had 14 penalties for 110 yards.

The officials certainly enjoyed their share of TV screen time.

“It was obviously frustrating,” McCarthy said. “The game was herky-jerky from start to finish. Give our guys credit to continue to focus and battle. The numbers are absurd, definitely understand that.”

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McCarthy, again, noted that tight officiating - or, some might argue, poor officiating - was expected as the Cowboys prepared during the short week. The tendency of players overreacting to penalties has been a concern of the coaching staff for weeks.

“I don’t want our guys slowing down and playing slower,” McCarthy said. “We’ve tried that already and that didn’t help us over-coaching the penalties a few weeks back. We’re going to get up on the balls of our feet and keep fighting.

“We’ve got to really focus on our fundamentals and finish plays. We’ll take a hard look at it. We evaluate the penalties every week, we break them down and it will be part of our fundamental emphasis as we get ready for the Saints.”

Worth noting: It's not as if penalties are the overriding issue in the recent skid. In losses to Denver and Kansas City, the Cowboys totaled 11 penalties for 102 yards. The Broncos and Chiefs combined for 11 for 82.

Still, the Cowboys are the most-penalized team in the league with 91 for 816 yards.

A number of Cowboys players in the post-game locker room took time to blame the officiating for the loss. But there was another perspective.

“We just have to do our job,” cornerback Jourdan Lewis said. “Honestly, we can’t think of it like that. We have to fight through whatever comes our way. That’s just what it is. We just have to fight, which we did.”

They fought on Thursday on the field. And on Friday? Coach Mike McCarthy is on the phone, fighting some more.