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You can't say the crowds influenced rusty NFL officials

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Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup (13) makes a catch but is called for offensive pass interference on Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey, left, during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

No one can say the crowds influenced the officials.

The crews may have been a bit rusty without a preseason, but only two teams — the Chiefs and Jaguars — allowed fans into the stadium during the NFL’s opening weekend because of the coronavirus pandemic.

So, no fans were in the stands for the two costliest calls in Week 1: offensive pass interference flags on Cincinnati’s A.J. Green and Dallas’ Michael Gallup in the closing seconds of close games.

The flag on Green for pushing off Chargers defender Casey Hayward wiped out his toe-dragging, game-winning touchdown grab from top draft pick Joe Burrows with 7 seconds left in Cincinnati’s 16-13 loss.

That penalty loomed ever larger when Randy Bullock’s calf cramped just as he swung for a game-tying field goal that sailed wide right.

“For one, he was clamping me the whole time,” Green complained afterward, saying the officials should call it both ways.

Green did extend his left arm for a split second as he gained separation from Hayward for the high grab, although that play seems to happens a lot without a whistle being blown.

Gallup’s infraction in Dallas’ 20-17 loss to the Rams was much more debatable.