EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants thought it was an interception. The Seattle Seahawks naturally believed it was a touchdown.
It’s all irrelevant. The officials’ opinion was the only one that mattered when it came to the bizarre joint-catch made by wide receiver Paul Richardson and safety Landon Collins early in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 24-7 Seahawks victory.
Referee Tony Corrente and his crew ruled the controversial play a 38-yard touchdown for Richardson. It was a back-breaker for the Giants, putting the Seahawks ahead by 10 with 9:34 remaining.
It didn’t sit well with many of the Giants after the loss.
“That was Landon all day. He got robbed,” Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said. “I’m going to tell you why: The guy went up and made a great play, but when he came down he lost possession of the ball. So he didn’t have it clear and then Landon took over and then he fought for it again. When you take over and you both hit the ground, whoever has it first is the winner. That is the rules.”
Basically, the Giants didn’t think Richardson completed the catch. The way Corrente and his crew saw it: Richardson caught the ball, lost it and simultaneously regained control at the same time as Collins.
A joint-catch made by wide receiver Paul Richardson and safety Landon Collins was ruled a touchdown. Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire
A tie goes to the receiver in this case.
“They went to the ground simultaneously with the football. Then they started a little wrestling match. It’s over now,” Corrente told a pool reporter after the game. “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.”
Several Giants — including coach Ben McAdoo — thought that by the time Richardson controlled the ball his leg was out of bounds. His left leg hit the white paint out of the end zone after he landed on Collins.
But Corrente seemed to indicate once they both had the football, and Collins had landed clearly in bounds, at that point the play is over. It’s a joint-catch, with the advantage going to the offense.
“That’s a touchdown,” Corrente said.
It was a strange and controversial play viewed quite differently by the two teams.
Paul Richardson and Landon Collins wrestle for possession of the ball. Both teams saw the play differently. It was ruled a catch for a touchdown. Abbie Parr/Getty Images
The Giants’ reactions:
CB Donte Deayon: “It was a throwback. They tried to hide [Richardson]. LC saw it and turned and ran down. As the ball was in the air they both turned to make a play on it. I thought LC made a great play on the ball and the call just didn’t go our way.”
S Landon Collins: “I can’t remember if it was the Green Bay game or something like that. I knew about it but at the same time I came down with the ball on my chest. Once I rolled over, he was trying to fight back into possession for it. Once that happened he had no possession of the ball anymore. It’s crazy.”
Coach Ben McAdoo: “They said they thought he clearly had possession of the ball. He lost possession, and clearly had possession of the ball before he went out of bounds and had his foot on the white. That’s why they gave him the touchdown.”
CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: “That was wrong. He definitely didn’t have possession at all. They both hit the ground. One thing about it is you have to have a complete catch to the ground. By the time his knee was down, Landon had already taken the ball from him. That was the wrong call.”
CB Donte Deayon: “I thought it shouldn’t have been ruled a touchdown from the get-go because in that case at least you’ll have video evidence to see if it was or wasn’t. But if you rule it a touchdown with no evidence you can’t overturn it.”
The Seahawks’ reaction:
QB Russell Wilson: “Well what an exciting play, obviously. It was a great call by [coach Darrell] Bevel and tossed it to J.D. [McKissic], he throws it back to me and then just let Paul do his thing. Gave him a chance one-on-one. Wouldn’t want to pick anybody else one-on-one, than Paul. And he just did a great job of tracking the football, snagging it down, and it was contested, that’s for sure. I mean I think Paul got his hands on it first, obviously, and kind of brought it down and, you know, it was definitely a pretty crazy play, but it’s like baseball—simultaneous, hitting the bag first. It was a great play by Paul, a great effort obviously by Landon Collins, too, as well, but fortunate for us.”
WR Paul Richardson: “It was a tough battle man. I saw the ball man I got excited, I jumped early and everything for it, he tried to snatch it away from me. Good catch though.”