During the Redskins’ Week 15 game against the New York Giants, Robert Griffin III, on 3rd-and-goal from the 8-yard line, eluded an oncoming pass-rush and ran for it.
Diving into the end zone, it appeared that Griffin III had recorded his first rushing touchdown of the season. But, just as all scoring plays are, the play went under review.
After several minutes of analysis, head referee Jeff Triplette announced that Griffin III did not complete the scoring play, and instead fumbled the ball into the end zone resulting in a touchback.
NFL Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino earlier this week broke down the play, explaining the entire process from a referee’s standpoint:
The key in this whole play is the fact that RGIII loses control of the ball right there before the ball breaks the plane, so he’s no longer a runner. He’s a player who’s attempting to recover a fumble. And when you’re attempting to recover a fumble and you’re going to the ground, you have to hold on to it when you land. So the fact that he regained control here doesn’t mean that he regained possession. Control is only one part of possession. And here, he has to land in bounds with the ball. He didn’t. He lost the ball and that is not a fumble recovery. Think of it as a pass. If this was a receiver attempting to catch a pass, if he lost the ball when he hit the ground it would be an incomplete pass. Same rule, it’s not a recovery and that’s why it was a fumble into the endzone and out of bounds. The result of the play is a touchback.
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