The previous blog post noted that Victor Cruz dropped three passes among the five times he was targeted and did not catch the ball. Well, there was a fourth time that probably wasn’t his fault. And it could have led to some salsa, too.
After the Giants were pushed backwards on their first two attempts from first-and-goal at the 1 following Michael Boley’s interception, Manning tried to find Cruz over the middle in the end zone. The ball wound up falling to the ground, and it was unaccompanied by a penalty flag even though it appeared safety Orlando Scandrick was holding Cruz on his route.
“I think there was more than a hold,” Tom Coughling said. “There’s another word for it.”
“I saw some jersey getting pulled,” said Eli Manning, who was looking for a flag after the play.
“Obviously I thought I got held, and I guess the refs didn't think so,” Cruz said. “I felt like I got grabbed a little bit more than the usual. But you can't have any excuses.”
Did we mention the Giants were playing with replacement officials? Oh, you knew that.
It did go both ways of course. Cruz’ one big play, a 26-yard reception, was helped out by an illegal pick set by Hakeem Nicks that wasn’t called. The Giants were also hurt by another non-call when it seemed Mathias Kiwanuka was unable to wrap up DeMarco Murray on his long 48-yard run because his arm was being held back by Doug Free.
The glaring call, though, was the one on the Cruz play in the end zone. A touchdown there would have given the Giants a 7-0 lead after a turnover – assuming they were able to get into the end zone after getting a new set of downs – and who knows what happens from there.
Coughlin was surprisingly understanding.
“You have people in a position, and they’re trying to do the very best they can,” he said of the replacement officials, praising them for their communication with the sideline and general control of the game.
“Anybody can miss a call,” Coughlin said, “but I just felt like in a situation like that, a key situation, where it becomes a first down again, it would have been nice to get that call.”
It would also have been nice to be able to run the ball in on the first two downs, but hey, no one's perfect, right?