EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- As the New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks continued to debate whether receiver Paul Richardson's 38-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown reception was actually a catch, referee Tony Corrente, via a pool report, explained the controversial call.
"The receiver went into the air, had control of the ball, lost control, re-grasped the ball and at the same time he did, the defender grabbed the ball, also," he said. "They went to the ground simultaneously with the football. Then they started a little wrestling match.
"That catch is established because if the defender was to pull the ball out of his hands now, it's still a catch because the defender has a second action. So at that point when they were on the ground together, and they're tussling to begin with, the catch is over, that's the touchdown.
"Now, after that is when he rolled over and we don't have any clear view of, quote unquote, anything happening after that. So that's where it stands."
Giants safety Landon Collins, the defender on the ball, insisted that he intercepted the pass.
"I came down with the ball on my chest," he said, "Once I rolled over, he was trying to fight back into possession for it. Once that happened, he had no possession of the ball anymore. It's crazy."
Collins, like the rest of the Giants, were surprised and disappointed that the original call of a touchdown that increased the Seahawks lead to 17-7 at the time, stood. Seattle went on to win 24-7.
"Once you saw it, you could blatantly see it was on my chest," Collins said. "Once the referee could see it, it was like he has possession of the ball. I turned over and he was trying to fight into my arms to get it. That was my ball."
Collins also went to the officials to gain clarity on the play.
"He said both of us were inbounds when you came down with the ball so it wasn't an incompletion," Collins said. "I guess he didn't see when I had the ball. He said once I rolled over I was still fighting for the ball. That's when that rule came up."
New York cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie added, "That was wrong. (Richardson) definitely didn't have possession at all. They both hit the ground. One thing about it is you have to have a complete catch to the ground. By the time his knee was down, Landon had already taken the ball from him, that was the wrong call."
The Giants plan to submit the call to the league for review.
The turnover came in the fourth quarter when defensive tackle Jarran Reed sacked Giants quarterback Eli Manning, causing the ball to come out. Defensive end Frank Clark, who started in place of Avril, was right there to recover the ball on the Giants 38-yard line.
One play later, the Seahawks scored when quarterback Russell Wilson found Richardson for the controversial touchdown.
Clark said after the Seahawks lost Avril to a season-ending neck injury, the unit knew that it would be a challenge to replace Avril's production.
"When you think about everything that Cliff does, the strip-sack that J-Reed got from the left side, I kept thinking about how many times Cliff has done that since I have been here," Clark said.
"He is irreplaceable. He is a Hall of Famer in my eyes. The things he does on that side, just the havoc that he causes, it's definitely a missing piece that we are missing, but when you have a lot of guys that can come off the bench and can fill the different things that he does, that's the best part of having a team."