EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- This is all that mattered to Landon Collins: On a throw from Russell Wilson in the fourth quarter, deep into the end zone, the Giants safety went up for the ball and came down with the ball.
"It was an interception," Collins said.
Except it wasn't.
Maybe it looked like one to him and almost everyone else, but the officials called it a 38-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Paul Richardson, even though Collins and Richardson both came down with their hands on the ball in the end zone. When they hit the ground, Collins appeared to have the ball held tightly to his chest with Richardson barely hanging on.
But the Seahawks receiver held on enough for the officials to rule "simultaneous possession," which means the offensive player gets the ball. And when the call was upheld on review, it gave the Seattle Seahawks a 10-point lead with 9:34 to play, putting them well on their way to a 24-7 win.
After the game, Collins still couldn't believe that a touchdown was called.
"I came down with the ball on my chest," he said. "Once I rolled over, he was trying to fight back into possession for it. Once that happened he had no possession of the ball anymore.
Even then, Collins seemed certain the play would be overturned on replay.
"It had to," he said. "Once you saw it, you could blatantly see it was on my chest. Once the referee could see it, it was like he has possession of the ball. I turned over and he was trying to fight into my arms to get it. That was my ball."
It certainly looked that way. And even if Richardson had possession, it looked like he might have been out of bounds. As Giants coach Ben McAdoo said, "I did not think he had possession of the ball before his foot hit the white."
But referee Tony Corrente, whose crew coincidentally worked the Jets game last Sunday that featured the controversial replay reversal of an Austin Seferian-Jenkins touchdown, explained that the play actually ended before that -- when Collins hit the ground in the end zone. And at that point, Richardson still had his hands on the ball.
"The receiver went into the air, had control of the ball, lost control, re-grasped the ball, and at the same time he did the defender grasped the ball also," Corrente told Newsday's Tom Rock, the pool reporter for the game. "They went to the ground simultaneously with the football. Then they started a little wrestling match. (But) it's over now. The catch is established, because if the defender was to pull the ball out of his hands now, it's still a catch."
The play reminded Collins of the infamous Seahawks-Packers game back in 2012, when the Seahawks won on a game-ending Hail Mary pass that was simultaneously caught by Seattle receiver Golden Tate and Packers safety M.D. Jennings -- the one with the photo where the line judge is signaling a touchdown while the back judge appears to be waving it off. Collins said he knew the rule, even if he didn't agree with the official's interpretation of what happened.
"He said both of us were in bounds when you came down with the ball so it wasn't an incompletion," Collins said. "I guess he didn't see when I had the ball. He said once I rolled over I was still fighting for the ball. That's when that rule came up."
"That was wrong," Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie added. "(Richardson) definitely didn't have possession at all. They both hit the ground. One thing about it is you have to have a complete catch to the ground. By the time his knee was down, Landon had already taken the ball from him.
"That was the wrong call."