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Is Dez Bryant due for a big (negative) stat correction? (1 Viewer)

zftcg

Footballguy
Here's the play, as per the NFL.com game log:

2-10-NYG 49 (12:53) (Shotgun) 9-T.Romo pass short left to 88-D.Bryant to NYG 44 for 5 yards (25-W.Hill). FUMBLES (25-W.Hill), touched at NYG 44, ball out of bounds at DAL 31.
I recall a similar play last year with Danny Amendola where he caught the ball, advanced it 3 yards, fumbled, and the fumble was then returned 6 yards in the other direction. Play was scored as a catch for -3 yards. Here is how that was described in the game log:

2-10-STL 20 (5:10) (Shotgun) 8-S.Bradford pass short right to 16-D.Amendola to STL 23 for 3 yards (29-L.Johnson). FUMBLES (29-L.Johnson), RECOVERED by TB-29-L.Johnson at STL 17. 29-L.Johnson to STL 16 for 1 yard (79-B.Richardson). FUMBLES (79-B.Richardson), RECOVERED by STL-59-R.Turner at STL 5. 59-R.Turner to STL 5 for no gain (59-M.Foster).
This case is slightly different in that with the Amendola fumble, he lost possession immediately, and the defensive player then returned it. Here, the ball was batted (note the "touched at NYG 44"), and went out of bounds before it was recovered, so the Cowboys retained possession.

Still, the fact remains that they completed a pass to Dez, and ended up 20 yards behind the line of scrimmage. How is that not a catch for -20 yards? (In fact, I think you could make an even stronger case for docking yardage on a ball that rolls backward than for one that's returned by a defensive player.) Does anyone know the official rule for plays like this?

 

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