Dre Greenlaw

Ref explains Greenlaw ejection after 49ers-Eagles sideline incident

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There were plenty of fireworks in the 49ers' 42-19 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field, but perhaps the most explosive moment came after a sideline altercation in the third quarter.

San Francisco linebacker Dre Greenlaw was called for an unnecessary roughness penalty after slamming Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith to the ground near the sideline with 9:19 remaining in the quarter. Eagles chief security officer Dom DiSandro then proceeded to get in Greenlaw's face before the linebacker appeared to make contact with DiSandro's face after gesturing toward him.

Both Greenlaw and DiSandro were ejected, leaving everybody stunned. And a little confused.

PFWA Pool Reporter Zach Berman spoke to NFL senior vice president of officiating Walt Anderson about the incident in the postgame pool report.

Berman: "Three questions about the sideline interaction, if you will. The first, why was Dom DiSandro asked to leave the sideline?"

Anderson: “The officials had a flag on the field for a personal foul by San Francisco No. 57, and then there was continuing action. And so what Rule 19 allows us to do is provide assistance by looking at the video. And we saw video that showed that there was a staff person that made contact with the player and that the player involved, No. 57, made contact with the staff member which warranted his disqualification. The non-player, he was contributing to that escalation. Rule 19 does not afford us the ability to help the officials in throwing a flag that they do not throw for a non-player. That’s only afforded for a player action.”

Berman: "So that seems to actually clarify all three questions there. Just for further clarification, Dre Greenlaw was ejected for the contact with the non-player. Is that correct?"

Anderson: “Correct.”

Berman: "And then, there is not allowed to be a flag (from New York) on the non-player on the sideline. Is that correct?"

Anderson: “Yes. Rule 19 allows us to assist the officials by observing the video and using video to assist in the administration of a foul that they called on the field. We can help them to assess a penalty against a player, but not a non-player, although we can assist with identifying the non-player who would be disqualified.”

With the 49ers leading 21-6 at the time, the incident appeared to light a fire under the Eagles, who marched down the field and scored on a Jalen Hurts rushing touchdown five plays later to make it a one-score game.

However, San Francisco then proceeded to outscore Philadelphia 21-6 from there on out. For as confusing as the incident initially appeared, the explanation is pretty straightforward.

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