For the second straight game, Victor Cruz was involved in a big play that helped decide a Giants’ victory.
But this time, his play came with some controversy.
With the Giants trailing 27-24, Cruz caught a 19-yard pass from Eli Manning for a first down at the Arizona 29-yard-line. However, Cruz appeared to go down to the turf untouched by any Cardinals defender.
Clearly thinking he was tagged and down, Cruz got up without the ball as the Giants were in hurry-up mode with 2:46 remaining in the game.
The Cardinals pounced on the ball saying they had recovered a fumble but the officials ruled that the play could not be reviewed because the runner was ruled down after he went down voluntarily.
According to Rule 7, Section 2, Article 1(e), “an official shall declare the ball dead and the down ended when a runner is out of bounds, or declares himself down by falling to the ground, or kneeling, and making no effort to advance.”
“I thought I was touched and the ref called it down,” Cruz said. “I was a little scared to be honest with you because I was looking at the replay [on the big screen and] it looked like somebody touched and it looked like they didn’t. You never know with those plays, it can go either way. I was a little scared but we ended up on the good side of that ball.”
Mike Pereira, FOX Sports rules analyst and former NFL Vice President of Officiating, tweeted that the officials made a mistake.
“In Giants game -- in my opinion it should have been ruled a fumble,” Pereira tweeted.
Manning admitted that he agreed.
“I thought we got a break on that one,” Manning said. “I thought it was going to be ruled a fumble. I saw it pretty clear. I don’t know what the call was or why. They couldn’t review it. That is why I tried to snap it real quick [on the next play]. I made that mistake one or two times before myself.”
Cruz, who had six catches for 98 yards working a good amount in the slot while playing outside as well, was glad that he was able to contribute to the victory. Cruz’s catch came one play before Manning hit Hakeem Nicks for the game-winning 29-yard touchdown.
“I am very relieved,” Cruz said. “Especially being down and making some big plays at the end and Hakeem making the big play to win the game… a big exhale.”