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Victor Cruz’s Non-Fumble Stumble: Lucky Break For Giants?

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(credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – Was it a good call or a lucky break for Big Blue?

The Giants’ go-ahead touchdown on Sunday came after Eli Manning threw to receiver Victor Cruz, who stumbled to the ground, got up and left the ball on the ground on a play the Cardinals insisted was a recovered fumble.

Referee Jerome Boger said the call could not be challenged because Cruz “gave himself up” on the play and therefore was down. The rule book says a play is over when a runner “declares himself down by falling to the ground, or kneeling, and making no effort to advance.”

Cruz added more confusion by saying he thought he’d been touched by a defender.

“I saw the guy coming and I wanted to get down,” he said after the 31-27 win. “I thought I was tagged down and I got up and was going to the next play. I thought I was touched, so the ref called it down. I felt like I was touched, I thought somebody touched me. I guess in the heat of the moment you probably don’t feel it or you think someone touched you, but I definitely thought I was touched.”

Listen: Cruz on the non-fumble play

Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt said all he knew was that the referee told him it could not be challenged.

“What’s the understanding of that rule? I don’t know,” Whisenhunt said. “I’d like to think it shouldn’t have come to that play. That’s kind of the way I have to look at it.”

The Cardinals were still fuming when Manning ran the next play, throwing to Hakeem Nicks for the go-ahead score.

“It hurts because we thought it was a fumble and it should be our ball, and then we probably win the game,” Arizona defensive tackle Calais Campbell said. “Then you get caught up in the emotion and they line up and throw a deep ball. They took advantage of our emotions.”

Whatever happened, Manning was relieved.

“We got a break on that one, I think,” he said. “I thought it was going to get ruled a fumble and I saw it pretty clear. I don’t know what the call was or why.”

What do you think? Did the Giants catch a break? Sound off below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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