Navorro Bowman clearly cradled the ball and had possession before the pileup ensued, but officials never saw it. Instead, Marshawn Lynch emerged with the football, and the Seahawks maintained possession. On the next play, with the Seahawks up 20-17, Lynch fumbled on a fourth-down run and the 49ers got the ball back anyway.
Fumbles are not reviewable, but it wasn’t “the right call on the field,” NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino revealed Wednesday.
“The pass is going to be ruled complete. The key is that the ruling on the field was a fumble recovered by Seattle,” Blandino said during his “Official Review” segment, which aired on “NFL Total Access” at 7 p.m. ET. “That’s important because the recovery of the loose ball, if it doesn’t involve a sideline, or it doesn’t involve the end zone, it’s not reviewable.
“The reason for that is that if we made that reviewable, then you potentially can have a replay reviewed on every pileup after a fumble when a lot of times it’s difficult to tell who has it,” Blandino added. “So you could create an exception, and when you look at the replays here, it’s clear that Bowman did have possession of the football. If one of our officials had recognized that, we should have given San Francisco possession.”
Not only did Bowman walk away needing surgery, he also walked away losing the game.