There was an odd moment during Sunday’s game between the Eagles and Giants when officials ruled that Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith caught a touchdown on the field before overturning it after a review and then going back to the original call after a second review.
After the game, NFL senior vice president of officiating Walt Anderson told pool reporter Zach Berman of TheAthletic.com that a “communication lapse” led to the unusual turn of events. Anderson, who had not spoken publicly about any call this season before Sunday, said that it initially looked like an “expedited review” which led to a premature announcement that the play was overturned.
More angles that showed Smith’s toe hitting the turf before his heel became available, which caused the change back to the initial ruling.
“We ended up seeing the additional angles,” Anderson said. “It looked like a heel on one angle, but then on another angle, it looks like toe probably drug. So , we just wanted to stop play and make sure we were looking at all of the angles and make sure that the rule was applied correctly. And after we looked at everything, it looked like there may have been evidence that the toe drug first, before the heel ended up stepping. And since the ruling on the field was a touchdown, that’s when we say, well, we don’t have evidence to change it from the ruling and that’s why we stayed with touchdown.”
The Eagles won 34-10, so the outcome probably wouldn’t have been shifted had the officials stuck with the first announcement, but Smith wound up getting his touchdown anyway.