Did 49ers get screwed on DeVonta Smith one-handed catch?

DeVonta Smith, Eagles
DeVonta Smith, Eagles /

The Philadelphia Eagles scored first, but after further review, it looks like a crucial catch should have been ruled incomplete.

The Philadelphia Eagles marched down the field on the opening drive of the NFC Championship in Philadelphia. Along the way, perhaps due to guts, trust in his quarterback, or concern over wind and rain, head coach Nick Sirianni opted to go for it on 4th-and-3 in field goal range.

Jalen Hurts and DeVonta Smith connected for what, at first glance, looked like a remarkable one-handed grab.

The Eagles quickly snapped the ball and got things going again before the play could be reviewed or challenged. Eventually, on that drive, the Eagles would score a touchdown and take a 7-0 lead after the extra-point attempt.

Did 49ers get screwed on DeVonta Smith one-handed catch?

The San Francisco 49ers definitely missed an opportunity to force a turnover on downs here. Take a look, the catch, while certainly still athletic and impressive, was not secured all the way down:

The ball appears to have made clear contact with the ground. That should be an incomplete catch.

The Niners could have challenged, but the Replay Assistance Rule can also be used for complete/incomplete rulings. In this case, given how close it was, it probably should have been exercised.

To make matters worse, on the next drive the Eagles recovered a loose ball later that was, on-field, ruled as an incomplete pass, but after review, was overturned and the ball was given to the Eagles.

Tough start for the Niners.

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