Another game at MetLife Stadium, another controversial call in the end zone.
The Giants fell to the Seahawks 24-7 Sunday night but it was a play early in the fourth quarter that changed the entire complexion of the game.
With 9:57 remaining and Seattle leading 10-7, a strip-sack fumble of Eli Manning set the Seahawks up at the Giants’ 38-yard line when Russell Wilson ran a flea-flicker, tossing the ball to running back J.D. McKissic on his right, who threw the ball back to Wilson. The Seahawks quarterback then aired a jump-ball to receiver Paul Richardson in the end zone, who was covered by Landon Collins.
The two fought for possession of the ball until the officials ruled that they had simultaneous possession and, by rule, it was deemed a touchdown for the Seahawks, giving them a 17-7 lead.
The play was reviewed and it appeared that Collins may have pried the ball away before hitting the ground, and as the two fought for possession of the ball, Richardson’s foot touched out of bounds. The call on the field stood, however.
Head official Tony Corrente — the same official from last week’s Austin Sefarian-Jenkins fumble during the Jets-Patriots game — explained after the game that the fighting on the ground did not matter.
“The receiver went into the air, had control of the ball, lost control, re-grasped the ball and at the same time he did, the defender grabbed the ball, also. They went to the ground simultaneously with the football. Then they started a little wrestling match. It’s over now,” he said. “That catch is established because if the defender was to pull the ball out of his hands now, it’s still a catch because the defender has a second action.
“So at that point when they were on the ground together, and they’re tussling to begin with, the catch is over, that’s the touchdown. Now, after that is when he rolled over and we don’t have any clear view of, quote unquote, anything happening after that. So that’s where it stands.”
Collins said none of that mattered and was adamant that he came down with possession of the ball.
“It was an interception,” he said. “I came down with the ball on my stomach…once I rolled over he just tried fighting for it, but once that happened he had no possession of the ball anymore. It’s crazy.”
When the call on the field was upheld, Collins was stunned.
“It had to (be overturned),” he said. “Once you saw it, you could blatantly see it was on my chest. Once the referee could see it, it was like he has possession of the ball. I turned over and he was trying to fight into my arms to get it. That was my ball.”
It would have been the second game-changing play by the All-Pro safety, too.
In the second quarter, Collins appeared to spark the team with a fumble recovery which he returned 32 yards to the Seahawks’ 15-yard line, which set up an Eli Manning touchdown to Evan Engram two plays later.
“There’s going to be game-changing moments all throughout the game,” he said. “It’s not going to always give us a boost with all the game-changing moments… I’m glad we got some points on the board and got in positions to put points on the board. If we could continue to keep forcing turnovers and making plays, we’ll be OK.”
Engram was also part of another game-changing play that did not go the Giants’ way.
The rookie tight end appeared to have made a 70-plus yard gain in the third quarter but the play was called back because Engram was out of bounds before touching the ball. Afterward, Engram said he was pushed out and sounded frustrated with the rule.
“I was pushed out, I guess that’s the rule,” he said. “I think it should be the rule if you get pushed out, you can come back in and touch the ball, but that’s not it. I was pushed out, it was big play, but it got called back.”
The drive ended like almost every other in the evening: with the Giants punting the ball.