The NFL officials explained why the Houston Texans retained possession on what appeared to be a Deshaun Watson fumble late in the team’s 20-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday night.
The Texans had the ball with just under two minutes left in the game. Deshaun Watson rushed to the right on a 2nd-and-9 play and had the ball knocked out by Colts linebacker Darius Leonard for a clear fumble.
— Bad Sports Refs (@BadSportsRefs) November 22, 2019
What wasn’t so clear was who recovered the ball. An official on the field signaled Texans ball after the pile got sorted out.
The Texans called a timeout with about 50 seconds left as they faced a 3rd-and-3 (after nearly a minute had run off the clock from the time after the previous play began). At that point, there was speculation the officials would review the play, but they did not do so. Indianapolis did not have any timeouts left and could not challenge.
The NFL’s officials Twitter account later said the Texans retained possession because there was no clear evidence of a Colts recovery.
In #INDvsHOU, officials on the field ruled a fumble recovered by the offense. There was no clear visual evidence of a recovery by the defense.
— NFL Officiating (@NFLOfficiating) November 22, 2019
Instead of Indy getting the ball back with about 50 seconds left down 20-17 and with no timeouts, Houston retained possession and was able to run out the clock on a huge 20-17 win that gave them the lead in the AFC South.