Your officiating controversy of the week just went down in Arizona.
With just under three minutes left in a game that the Cardinals led 27-24, Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz caught a pass from Eli Manning and then fell to the ground and dropped the ball while getting up. He was not touched by a Cardinals defender on the ground and the Cardinals grabbed the ball and started back up field as whistles blew. When the refs made it clear that they were allowing the Giants to keep the ball, Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt threw a challenge flag.
But no challenge happened. Referee Jerome Boger announced that the ruling on the field was that Cruz had given himself up on the play and that it was therefore not subject to review. There’s plenty to dislike about this call, starting with the fact that Cruz looked like he stumbled and fell rather than chose to go down of his own volition.
On top of that, there’s the fact that there isn’t a chance to see whether or not to take another look at whether Cruz had given himself up or had fallen to the ground as part of a football play. The NFL’s desire not to open a can of worms on judgment calls is understandable, but this isn’t pass interference or intentional grounding. This was either a player who went down from being touched (Cruz ran through an attempted tackle), a player who went to the ground for another reason or a player who gave himself up.
Then there’s the question of why Cruz was blown dead so quickly when there were several Cardinals right around Cruz on the play. Boger’s explanation gives him cover for not looking at the review, but it does nothing to explain why in the world the officials would have made that call in the first place.
Hakeem Nicks scored a touchdown on the next Giants play, giving them a 31-27 victory over the Cardinals.