Darius Leonard on Deshaun Watson fumble: “I had it”

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Trailing 20-17 with 1:48 left to play in Thursday night’s game against the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard swears he made a play that could have changed the outcome of the game.

Leonard stripped Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson of the football on a 6-yard quarterback sweep. Whether the on-field officials saw the ball came loose at all or just assumed that it remained in the possession of Watson, the Texans maintained possessions of the ball and managed to drain the remaining seconds off the clock to get the victory.

But Leonard is absolutely convinced he had the ball.

I punched it out,” Leonard said, via Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star. “I punched for it, got it out. I had it, and after that, they said it wasn’t a fumble.”

The play wasn’t formally reviewed with a stoppage of play, though it was looked at by the league officiating office in New York. Houston called a time out after the play that gave even more time for the play to be reviewed. However, the league office said there wasn’t evidence of a turnover on the footage they saw.

“In #INDvsHOU, officials on the field ruled a fumble recovered by the offense,” the NFL Officiating Twitter account stated. “There was no clear visual evidence of a recovery by the defense.”

If there was clear visual evidence that Leonard had sole possession of the football, the play could have been overturned via replay. However, both Leonard and Watson remained grasping at the ball after it came loose.

Leonard’s view of what happened after Watson lost possession was clear.

“We were fighting for it,” Leonard said. “I got it.”

If Leonard had been ruled to have recovered the fumble, the Colts would have had around a minute and a half to move from their own 35-yard line into field goal range with no timeouts remaining. Instead, they never got that chance and the Texans now hold sole possession of first place in the AFC South.

17 responses to “Darius Leonard on Deshaun Watson fumble: “I had it”

  1. While the officials have blown many calls this season this is not one of them. The ball clearly came out but from the replays shown there is nowhere near enough evidence of a change of possession. NO I am not a TEXAN. fan there just is not enough there.

  2. And that folks, is why you should never bet on games. We all saw a clear punch out and it was clear that the Defense came out with the ball, but ZERO review!? You can tell by my username I’m no Colts fan, but they got royally hosed this game

  3. Same old Colts. They’re going to the Super Bowl after every win and whine like babies after every loss. Now crying about a play that didn’t happen.

  4. Replays showed the ball moving into Leonard’s gut.

    Replace: “No clear recovery” with “game is almost over and let’s avoid extending this and possibly overtime.”

    Same thing happened in the last minute of Seahawks-Bengals in Week 1. Dalton’s arm going forward, replay says, “let’s leave this as a fumble and get out of here.”

  5. Chiefs fan here, the ball was out. But we never got a good view of who ended up with it. How that wasn’t reviewed is bizarre.

    Not saying anything would’ve changed but it was a clear fumble.

  6. One angle and it was clear as day. For the broadcast ref (I forgot) to cover their butts, sorry, obvious punch out and recovery.

    Refs are not all of a sudden bad. 4K etc is just proving how hard it is to ref a game.

    They need another ref on the field to watch the line and a skybox.

    Why make something harder than it needs to be?

  7. I had no horse in this race, but I kinda hoped Houston would win. But that fumble was clear and 100% obvious. Leonard had the ball. Where he screwed up was when he took one hand off the ball to wave his hand, signaling that he had the ball. Meanwhile, a scrum ensued, and Leonard only had one hand to fight with at the bottom of the pile. When the refs pulled the bodies up, Watson had pulled the ball away with both hands. The refs blew it, but Leonard made the mistake of taking both hands off the ball. He figured the play was dead. It was, but it 2019 it wasn’t.

  8. It was ruled a fumble recovered by the offense. NFL replay in NY reviewed it and didn’t find anything to disagree with that would warrant an on field review. Not sure what’s so hard to understand.

  9. This is like the Titans game against the Chiefs. Tannehill fumbled, clearly recovered his own fumble. Then they just decided to give the ball to the Chiefs anyway & never reviewed it. No Chiefs player ever had anything close to possession of the ball. This is the NFL folks. They are incompetent.

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