Rueben Randle gives up the ball, officials bail him out


Giants receiver Rueben Randle almost made one of the bonehead plays of the year in the NFL, but the officials bailed him out.

In the third quarter of Thursday night’s game at Chicago, Randle caught a pass from Eli Manning and appeared to have a path toward the end zone, but as he tried to turn upfield, he slipped on the Soldier Field grass and fell to the ground. Frustrated, he slammed the ball to the turf.

One problem: He hadn’t been touched down when he slammed the ball to the turf, and Bears cornerback Isaiah Frey alertly grabbed the ball. Unfortunately for the Bears, the officials blew the whistle and said Randle had given himself up. Bears coach Marc Trestman tried to challenge, but when a player is ruled to have given himself up, that’s not reviewable.

NFL Network was televising the game and quickly brought on head of officiating Dean Blandino to defend the officials.

“It was the proper call,” Blandino said.

Rule 7, Section 2, Article 1 (e) states that “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.”

But I don’t believe Randle was declaring himself down when he fell to the ground, any more than Robert Griffin III was declaring himself down when he fell to the ground in Week Three, losing a fumble on a rule that Griffin later decried as “stupid.” Randle didn’t take a knee or go into a feet-first slide, the way players typically do when giving themselves up. He simply had a mental lapse and dropped the ball when he shouldn’t have. The officials saved him from himself, and helped the Giants.

57 responses to “Rueben Randle gives up the ball, officials bail him out

  1. it was not the correct call, happened in week 3 detroit/washington game. RG3 dove forward and the ground forced the ball out, resulting in the ruling that he had not given himself up. if you’re going to call it that way, make the damn call consistently. so tired of hearing how great nfl referees are when they blow just as many calls if not more than the replacements did last year.

  2. Yes, Randel made a monumentally, unforgivably stupid play. And like Mayock said, he had zero idea what the rule was.

    However, he had clearly given up trying to advance the ball. If that is how the rule is interpreted, it was properly applied.

  3. Michael Smith you need to watch the Raiders vs Chargers game from a few years ago. Similar thing happened. The charger receiver caught a critical 3rd down pass. He went down, jumped up and spun the ball like a top on the ground. Trouble was no Raider had touched him. The Raiders picked it up as an apparent fumble. Guess what. The refs said it wasn’t a fumble. It was an illegal forward pass. Did you hear what I just said. The refs actually called it an illegal forward pass. I happened when other teams get screwed like the Raiders have been in numerous games throughout their history.

  4. But but but but the replacement refs are a travesty… and the regular refs are heaven sent… blah blah blah. Unreal.

  5. The Giants have gotten this favorable ruling twice now in the last few seasons. A similar play happened against Arizona in 2011 when Cruz falls to the ground without being touched & the ball pops loose near the end of the game. The Giants got the favorable ruling that cost Arizona the game. This rule needs to be changed or modified.

  6. The Giants offensive play calling is terrible.They have a runningback in Jacobs who is picking up good yards plus a line and QB who are shakie so what do they do pass .

  7. I agree is was a fumble and he wasn’t giving himself up.

    But, when’s the last time you saw a WR slide feet first? Or stop and take a knee? They always go down head first.

  8. Horrible inconsistent call. Desean Jackson’s infamous pre-crossing the goaline fumble was not considered giving himself up. How is dropping the ball on purpose untouched any different than slamming the ball to the ground on purpose untouched?

  9. mantastic54 says:
    Oct 10, 2013 10:51 PM
    Wasn’t Robert griffin giving himself up vs Detroit a few weeks ago when he fumbled?
    Was saying the same thing, that call cost me my fantasy game

  10. Yeah a shocking call. Oh and an Italian American head of officiating falls down on the NY Giants side….i`m..shocked. Randle clearly spiked the live ball, it was a fumble.

  11. The bigger question is, when is the NFL going to step in and do something about the Soldier Field turf? It’s embarrassing every single week.

  12. His play simply showed what the entire team had done. Given up. Symbolic of the average lazy new joker.

  13. oh please. he stopped advancing and put the ball on the ground on purpose! how is that not giving himself up?! (besides for the fact that he was touched before his hand released the ball anyways, and the call would have stood).
    and no you cant compare to rgiii’s fumble simply because rgiii did not drop the ball voluntarily. it was knocked out of his hands by the ground. Randle let go of the ball voluntarily after he stopped trying to advance.

  14. A couple of years ago, the Cardinals were leading the Giants when in the closing moments, Eli hit Victor Cruz over the middle.

    Cruz attempted a cut to avoid a tackler, got top-heavy and did a spectacular belly-flop, losing the ball in the process. The Cards recovered, securing the win in the process.

    But the ref, incredibly, declared Cruz “gave himself up”, when he had done little more than lose his balance while fumbling away the ball.

    The ball was given back to the Giants, who went on to score and beat the Cards as time expired.

    Looks like the Giants have written this phony “give himself up” nonsense into their playbook. They seem to be the only team in football with this get-out-of-jail-free card.

  15. Where are all the articles of refs bailing out the Colts in 90% of their 3rd downs? I thought “suck” for Luck ended two years ago. I guess no one says no to the obnoxious neck beard.

  16. NOT at all the same thing.
    Rueben Randle made ZERO effert to advance the ball once he thought he was down. so yes I 100% agree he gave himself up.
    Go back to RG3 he dove forward and was not touched then hit the ground. hitting the ground made him fumble. If RG3 had held on to the ball then and only then when he stops moving can someone say he gave himself up. Or you could say that because not 1 player “touched” him down he could get up and run again. RG3 was trying not to get tackled if i recall. Diving forward by its own meaning is you are still advancing the ball towards the goal line.
    Sorry if anyone compares what happened in the Giants/bears game to RG3 you are 100% wrong if you say it is the same thing!
    Just saying

  17. P.S. The point is, these bad calls matter.

    Without that bad call in 2011, the Giants don’t go 9-7.

    Without this bad call in the 4th game of the season, they never reach the playoffs.

    Without reaching the playoffs, they never go to the Super Bowl and beat New England, snatching away the Patriots undefeated season.

    The poisoned fruit, indeed.

  18. “But I don’t believe Randle was declaring himself down when he fell to the ground…”

    What does it matter what an amateur blogger thinks…the officials made their call.

  19. Either way the replay would show that he had possession of the ball with a knee on the ground. At on point a defender brushed his helmet well before the ball came loose. If he needed another point to be made the ground caused the fumble. I am not a fan of either team. It was a catch and tackle.

  20. A few years back, in a Raiders – Chargers game, the Chargers receiver caught a 4th down pass for a first down, slipped to the ground without being touched, got up and spiked the ball, which the Raiders recovered. The Refs ruled the Charger had thrown an illegal forward pass, stepped off the yardage from that spot and since it was still beyond the first down sticks, the Chargers retained the ball. Critical call that cost the Raider’s the game.

  21. I feel like your gripe has to be with the actual rule. When a player falls to the ground, slams the ball on the ground and leaves it there, isn’t it implied that he’s given himself up. If you don’t think so, then when you go to a restaurant, get a check and leave the money on the table shouldn’t anybody just be able to take it. You didn’t make it explicitly clear that this money was to be paid to the restaurant.

    Also, given the priority placed on player safety, shouldn’t we try to avoid situations where a defensive player smashes into an offensive player who is on the ground.

  22. Eli greatest clutch qb of all time. Except if he doesn’t have a defense, or an offensive line. But, with two lucky throws and catches, and playing the Patriots he is the most awesome quarterback of the decade. Please go 0-16! But, in the end it will never be the fault of a Manning thanks to ESPN and NFL network.

  23. Good call. He spikes the ball when he’s on the ground. Obviously giving himself up. I don’t get why its called a “bonehead” play.

  24. Nolakev called it right. He had the ball in his hand while getting touched on the head, clearly not a fumble. A bonehead play for sure but it turned out the way it should have.

  25. What part of “declares himself down by falling to the ground, or kneeling and making no effort to advance” do you morons not understand? He was on the ground and it was obvious he was not trying to advance the ball. It was the right call whether you like it or not.

  26. I’ve got no rooting interest in this either way, but he was on the ground, had the opportunity to get up or roll forward and clearly did not make any attempt to do so. Instead he took that time as an opportunity to slam the ball down.

    Based on the way the rule is written (“making no effort to advance”) and the way Blandino explained it, I can easily see how they called it “giving himself up”.

    Stupid rule nonetheless…

  27. I can understand how upset you must be to lose your fantasy game. We all grieve for you. Let’s get Goodell on the phone to straighten this stuff out so that fantasy footballers can rest easy at night and get the respectr they deserve. NOT…

  28. Good to know everyone knows the rule. Typically when you have the ball in your hand with your knee down and you are touched then it doesn’t matter if you gave yourself up or not, since you are down by contact at that point anyway.

  29. The refs did everything in their power to bail out the giants and keep them in the game the whole night.
    Giants O-line flat out tackled the rushers MANY times right in front of the ref who would simply look downfield and pretend he saw nothing.

  30. I know I’m going to be in the minority here, but I agree with the refs call on this one. Sure he didn’t go down intentionally, but after he did he slammed the ball to the ground in frustration indicating he was giving up and not trying to advance any more.

    And no, I’m not a Giants fan.

  31. Not nearly as bad as the intentional grounding call on Jay. That was terrible. And, I guess it is OK when the Giants OL holds, cuz they were doing that all night.

  32. That wasn’t the worst call of the night. The absolute WORST call went against the Giants, and it was when the officials called unneccessary roughness on one of the NYG defensive players when he tapped Cry Baby Cutler on the helmet when Cutler slid. He barely tapped the guy, but they threw the flag. TERRIBLE CALL. As Mayock stated, I understand protecting the players and not allowing a shot to the head. But this wasn’t a hit, it was a touch. If Cutler wasn’t wearing a helmet, the force of the contact would have barely ruffled his hair. It was an absolutely ridiculous call, and the flag should have never been thrown.

  33. That clown they brought on to agree with the call is so clearly a stooge for the NFL. What a joke. You can’t DECLARE yourself down if you don’t have the intention of declaring yourself down… which Randle obviously didn’t.

  34. The rg3 play and the randle play are different. Rg3 fumbled according to the rules, which make the ball live if the ground forces the fumble when qbs dive headfirst. Randle was ruled down according to the rules, and let go of the ball after the play was ruled dead. Regardless of wether randle knew the rule or not, he clearly gave himself up by not trying to get up and advance the ball.

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