The NFL has issued a rules clarification on Victor Cruz's touchdown catch midway through the fourth quarter of Sunday's game against the Giants.
In Sunday’s game between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles, Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz scored on a 28-yard touchdown reception with 8:07 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The ruling on the field was a touchdown, which was then confirmed after an instant replay review.
Referee Jeff Triplette announced the following:
“After reviewing the play, the ruling on the field is confirmed. The receiver caught the ball, stuck it over the goal line – the plane – before he lost possession. It is a touchdown.”
Cruz had firm grip and control of the ball, touched both feet to the ground, and fulfilled the time requirement to complete the catch.
At the point that Cruz completed the catch, he became a runner (a runner is an offensive player who is in possession of a live ball).
When Cruz, acting as a runner, extended the ball over the goal line, it was a touchdown at the instant the ball penetrated the plane of the goal line. Rule 11, Section 2, Article 1 (a) of the NFL Rule Book (page 61) states that a touchdown is scored when the ball is on, above, or behind the plane of the opponents’ goal line and is in possession of a runner who has advanced from the field of play.
When Cruz lost control of the ball, he was no longer attempting to catch a pass. He had already completed the catch and was a runner attempting to score a touchdown by extending the ball across the goal line.
If the same situation occurred in the middle of the field, and a receiver who had become a runner lost possession of the ball as he reached forward for a first down, it would be a fumble.
The full release from the league can be found here.
To read our earlier reports, click here.