Giants – Cardinals: Victor Cruz Controversial Fumble?
Much is being made of the play at the end of the Giants – Cardinals game this week. With the Giants still behind in the game Victor Cruz caught a pass near the left hash mark, he was contacted by a defender but regained his balance and ran for a few yards before clearly falling down on his own – never touched by any defender. At this point he gave up possession of the ball and slowly started to get back up and turn towards the huddle. The Cards defenders jumped on the ball figuring they had recovered a fumble. The ruling the field was that Cruz had gone to the ground and “given himself up” meaning the play is over. After replay this call was upheld.
The disputed part of the call is whether or not he truly intended to go to the ground and give himself up, or did he simply trip and then lose the ball when he hit the ground. I tend to think he was aware of the rule because when he lost control of the ball he didn’t try to recover it, and when he got up he turned towards the huddle to start the next play. But I think there is one good reason why the receiver has to be called down in this situation. Because if a defender had have come in and delivered a big hit on Cruz then we would have quickly seen a triangulation of flags for a roughness penalty. That’s just the way the NFL is. So if a player can’t be hit then I consider that player down. Or else, in other situations with less time on the clock a play like this can create a disadvantage for the defense if the runner decides to get up and run again.