Tag:Darnell Docket
Posted on: October 2, 2011 9:00 pm

Victor Cruz's non-fumble leads to controversy

V. Cruz thought he was giving himself up, but Arizona thought not (AP).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It was clear that Giants receiver Victor Cruz thought he was giving himself up when he went to the turf untouched at midfield with 3 minutes to go in the New York-Arizona game, and his thought process was clear because he released the ball before getting up and preparing to run the Giants next play.

He thought he was down, and that was the end of it.

The Cardinals weren’t so clear on the matter, though, treating it like a fumble, recovering the ball and taking over possession leading by three points. Or so they thought.

Except, the officials ruled that Cruz, much like a quarterback sliding feet first, had given himself up, and since they had ruled that way, it was a non-reviewable call, despite Ken Whisenhunt’s best intentions. On the very next play, Eli Manning threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Hakeem Nicks to give New York the 31-27 victory.

So, did the Cardinals get hosed on the call? According to some, yes, they did.

First, the rule states the official shall declare the ball dead when a runner is out of bounds or if he kneels down or falls to the ground and makes no effort to advance. Which is kind of what Cruz did. Maybe. Except it’s a judgment call, and it’s up to the officials to decide if the runner was actually in the process of taking a knee.

Wrote Mike Pereira, former head of officiating on his Twitter account: “In my opinion it should have been ruled a fumble … If you have possession of the ball and you take a knee thats giving yourself up, cruz stumbled.”

So, a judgment call. Did he kneel down, or did he stumble?

“Yeah,” Manning told reporters after the game, “we got a break on that one.”

Said general manager Jerry Reese, via the New York Daily News:  "I'm not sure what the rule is, but that wasn’t the only thing that helped us win the game."

That’s true, and for its part, Arizona didn’t make a big issue of it afterward, saying the team had made too many other mistakes (like, for instance, giving up the touchdown to Nicks immediately afterward). "We don't make no excuses," Darnell Docket said, via Rapid Reporter Craig Morgan. "We just feel we beat ourselves."

But if the Cardinals feel like they got screwed a little bit, I wouldn’t blame them a bit.

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