San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh believes a fumble should have been called in a late game drop by Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw according to Dan Hanzus of NFL.com.
With 2:29 remaining in regulation of Sunday’s NFC Championship Game and the score tied at 17, Bradshaw caught a pass from Eli Manning and had the ball stripped before he went to the ground at New York’s 21-yard line. The 49ers recovered the ball, putting them in position to score and win the game.
The play was blown dead, with game officials ruling Bradshaw’s forward progress had been stopped before the ball popped loose.
“In my opinion, that was a fumble,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said during his news conference Monday. “I’m sure the league will defend it and the officials will defend it. But to me, that play was still going on. There was still struggling by Bradshaw. … I felt like it was analogous with the tuck rule.”
A league spokesman confirmed to NFL.com and NFL Network that game officials made the correct call, citing this portion of the league’s rule book:
“Rule 7, Section 2 (b) of the NFL Rule Book (page 35) covers “dead balls.” The rule states: “An official shall declare the ball dead and the down ended: (b) when a runner is held or otherwise restrained so that his forward progress ends.” That was the immediate ruling yesterday, which is not subject to a replay review.”