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Monday, October 3, 2011
Coughlin agrees with refs on Cruz play

By Ian Begley

A day later, Tom Coughlin is siding with the refs.

Coughlin, in a surprise to no one, said on Monday afternoon that referees got the Victor Cruz call right on Sunday.

"I don’t know how you could call it anything else," Coughlin said.

With the Giants trailing the Cardinals, 27-24, Cruz caught a 19-yard pass from Eli Manning for a first down at the Arizona 29-yard-line with 2:46 left in regulation. 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.

Hakeem Nicks said on Monday that he thought Cruz was touched. But he later saw on film that Cruz went down without contact.

"I am glad that they made the call and I am glad it was on our side," Nicks said.

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.”

Coughlin thought the refs got the play right.

"I'm standing by the way that the rule was interpreted by the officials. If you look at the way that that play took place, there's no question that he was giving himself up, he was headed back to the huddle," the coach said on a Monday afternoon conference call.

Cruz said after Sunday's game that he thought he was touched by a Cardinals defender.

“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.

Cruz’s catch came one play before Manning hit Hakeem Nicks for the game-winning 29-yard touchdown.

“I am very relieved,” Cruz said on Sunday. “Especially being down and making some big plays at the end and Hakeem making the big play to win the game… a big exhale.”