TEMPE, Ariz. — The Carson Palmer fumble that led to a Carolina Panthers touchdown on the sixth play of Sunday’s game should have been ruled a forward pass, but a malfunction with the replay feed prevented the replay official from reviewing the play, Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians was told.
Arians explained during his news conference Monday afternoon following the Cardinals’ 30-20 loss to the Panthers that he was told Fox’s instant replay feed was experiencing problems early in the game and was shut down to fix during the Cardinals’ first drive. That prevented the game’s replay official, Lou Nazzaro, from being able to slow down the replay and review the fumble on third-and-6, which was the ruling on the field. Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis recovered the fumble and returned it for the touchdown.
Without access to a replay either in Carolina or at NFL headquarters in New York, Nazzaro “went with his naked eye, so he went with the call on the field,” Arians said.
At halftime, after he was told the feed was restored, Arians was told the play was confirmed as a forward pass, which would have been ruled an incomplete pass after a subsequent replay. Arizona would have punted, and the Panthers would not have taken a 7-0 lead just three minutes into the game.
“Our offense really, really struggled after the call,” Arians said Sunday evening. “You make a couple first downs. You think you are moving pretty good. And we always take the ball for that reason, and you have to overcome questionable calls.
“We tried to overcome it, and we didn’t.”
ESPN has reached out to the NFL for a comment or explanation on the replay malfunction.