Figuring out who recovered a fumble is one of the more inexact things a NFL official does. Usually, the best approach is to wait to see who comes out with the ball, which basically leads to unspeakable things happening in the pile, but it's better than trying to guess who had it first.
The officials at Sunday's AFC wild card game tried to guess, and they seemed to get it wrong.
Ray Rice fumbled on the Ravens' first possession. Ravens guard Marshal Yanda came out of the pile holding the ball over his head like a trophy, so the call seemed obvious. But the officials said the Colts recovered. That ruling could not be reviewed.
The replays showed that they tried to guess what happened and got it wrong. Colts linebacker Jerrell Freeman looked like he fell on it first, but CBS' low-angle replay from the Colts' end zone showed that Freeman never had the ball. He never was close to having possession. A huge arm with a purple jersey comes in - this had to be Yanda - and snatched the loose ball away.
The officials tried figuring out what happened without being able to see it. That cost the Ravens a crucial possession inside the red zone.
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