Cowboys’ season-ending fumble ruling, explained: Why Giants kept ball on Wayne Gallman mishap

For a brief moment, the Cowboys believed they would get the ball back in Giants territory with about one minute remaining in the fourth quarter.

After a botched coaching decision from Mike McCarthy followed by an Andy Dalton interception, Wayne Gallman’s apparent lost fumble appeared a borderline miracle for Dallas. But the official who signaled for a Cowboys recovery was quickly overruled by his colleagues, and a subsequent challenge affirmed the decision to keep the ball with New York.

The Giants were then able to run out the remainder of the clock to secure a 23-19 victory that eliminated the Cowboys from playoff contention.

Gallman, who used his rear end to help recover his own fumble, is fortunate his mistake didn’t cost the Giants the game. Having already passed the first-down marker, he should have gone to the turf on his own, ball firmly in his possession. Trying to advance it farther allowed the strip to happen.

At first, officials said Gallman was down before losing control of the ball. That was clearly not the case. But replays showed he did manage to recover the ball while on the ground, which led referees to award possession to the Giants. What happened thereafter wasn’t pertinent to the final ruling.

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