In the third quarter of Monday Night Football, Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford fumbled, and the Cardinals missed a huge opportunity to recover it — because Stafford was the only one in the vicinity who recognized that he fumbled.
With the Rams at the Cardinals’ 6-yard line, Stafford was hit by Cardinals pass rusher Chandler Jones as he attempted to pass. The ball went forward and hit the ground, but the officials ruled that Stafford had fumbled and the ball was still live.
However, players on both teams seemed to think it was an incomplete pass. Multiple players were just standing around looking at the ball on the ground before Stafford ran to the ball and jumped on top of it. Only then did the officials blow the play dead.
Cardinals defensive lineman Jordan Phillips was the closest player to the ball and easily could have recovered it if he had realized it was a fumble, not an incomplete pass. The Rams scored a touchdown two plays later, so the Cardinals’ failure to recognize the fumble and recover it was a huge play in the game, which the Rams ended up winning by seven points.
It was a heads-up play by Stafford and a major missed opportunity for the Cardinals.