NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — It was the non-fumble debated from Arizona to New York. And Giants coach Tom Coughlin says referee Jerome Boger got the call right.
Boger and his crew ruled that receiver Victor Cruz was giving himself up — and didn’t fumble — after making a catch on Big Blue’s game-winning touchdown drive against the Cardinals.
Coughlin looked at the videotape of Cruz’s 19-yard catch with roughly three minutes to play in the Giants’ 31-27 victory Sunday and said there is no doubt in his mind the receiver was giving himself when he went to the turf at the Cardinals 29.
Cruz put the ball on the turf after going down and the Cardinals recovered it, believing Cruz had not been touched down so it was a fumble.
Boger also said the Cardinals could not challenge that type of ruling.
“I’m standing by the way the rule was interpreted by the officials,” Coughlin said. “If you look at the way that play took place there is no question he was giving himself up and he was headed back to the huddle. I don’t know how you can call anything else.”
The NFL noted Monday that Rule 7, Section 2, Article 1 states that the ball is dead and the down ended once a runner declares himself down by falling to the ground, or kneeling, and making no effort to advance.
Hakeem Nicks, who caught a game-winning 29-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning on the ensuing play, said he was not aware of the rule.
“I’m just glad it turned out on our side,” Nicks said. “Initially during the game, I assumed he got touched when he went down. What I saw on film it was different, but I guess you can declare yourself down and that made the call and I am glad.”
Giants receiver Mario Manningham was a couple of yards away from Cruz after the play and he seemed to think it was a fumble when he flapped his arms.
“I think it was just the heat of the moment,” Nicks’ said of Manningham’s reaction. “Guys just wanted to win. We didn’t want to turn the ball over. I don’t think it was nothing like he was mad at Victor.”
Linebacker Michael Boley said the Giants are taught to grab every loose ball on the turf, so New York’s defense would have reacted the same way as the Cardinals. He added he was aware of the rule that allows a runner to give himself up.
“When it comes to the rule, it is all about how the ref sees it vs. the actual rule being in place,” Boley said. “We have our rules, but when it comes down to the game, it is about how the ref saw it.
“It could have gone either way.”
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