Replays on close TD passes burn Cardinals vs. 49ers

Oct 1, 2017, 5:12 PM | Updated: 5:42 pm

Twice against the San Francisco 49ers, key near-catches in the end zone by the Arizona Cardinals were ruled incomplete.

The second, in overtime, was ruled an incomplete pass when Arizona wide receiver John Brown caught a tipped pass and appeared to get both toes on the turf before falling out of bounds.

Without an angle to confirm that his second toe touched inbounds, the on-field call stood despite a bit of evidence he completed the catch. That catch would have won the game for the Cardinals, but Larry Fitzgerald’s 19-yard touchdown catch soon after gave them the 18-15 overtime win anyhow.

Maybe more egregious was an earlier play in a game where each team could only muster four field goals apiece in regulation. Cardinals running back Andre Ellington reeled in a laser pass from Carson Palmer along the sideline of the end zone that, unlike Brown’s play, was initially called a touchdown.

Both toes tapped inbounds, the second just before the running back’s arm landed out of bounds. The ball, meanwhile, didn’t move, though it did hit the ground with Ellington’s hand remaining under it.

FOX Sports officiating analyst Mike Pereira said during a mandatory replay review that he expected the call would stand.

And then it didn’t.

The play was reversed because the referees said the ball wasn’t caught, and the Cardinals settled for a 29-yard Phil Dawson field goal to tie the game, 3-3, in the second quarter.

“The ball can move a little bit but he had control first,” Pereira said after the touchdown was overturned. “Clear and obvious to overturn? No way do I see that.”

Pereira wasn’t alone.

Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians was outraged at the reversed touchdown.

Much of the Twitterverse disagreed with the officials as well. The referees would have needed clear, obvious evidence to change their initial touchdown call.

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