Cardinals player forces a controversial fumble vs. Giants by kicking the football loose
Most of Kylie Fitts’ body had been blocked past Dion Lewis on a kick return. But Fitts’ right leg was trailing behind his upper body, even with Lewis, and so Fitts appeared to extend his right leg in the direction of the football.
What was clear is this: Fitts knocked the ball out of Lewis’ arms through contact just above Fitts’ right foot. If the kick had been ruled intentional, it would’ve resulted in a penalty, but that wasn’t something the officials could review after they let the play happen on the field. As it stood, the Cardinals’ Trent Sherfield recovered the fumble.
You can't intentionally kick the ball out, so this was likely determined unintentional.pic.twitter.com/jV5NjMEEMt
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) December 13, 2020
On the Fox broadcast, rules expert and former NFL official Dean Blandino clarified that he thought the kick was intentional. If the officials had agreed with Blandino on the field, New York would’ve maintained possession following the accepting of an illegal kicking penalty. Instead, Arizona got the ball and scored on a Kyler Murray pass to Dan Arnold four plays later.
Would be difficult in real time for the officials to see him kick the ball. It would be more apparent that he kicked an opponent which is a personal foul for unnecessary roughness. https://t.co/pFmDDkndk5
— Terry McAulay (@SNFRules) December 13, 2020
Fitts, who forced the fumble, is a third-year NFL player out of Utah and UCLA. He spent the first year of his career with the Bears before joining Arizona in 2019. Prior to 2020 Week 14, Fitts had never forced a fumble. His right shin changed that.
The Giants had already lost one fumble Sunday, but that wasn’t in question: Daniel Jones took a big hit from former Giant Markus Golden, and Arizona recovered it. New York trailed 13-0 after the Fitts forced fumble led to a touchdown. If Jones gets the Giants back in Week 14’s game, there might be more focus postgame on the kick-forced fumble that maybe never should’ve counted.