Just one week into the year 2019, we might have stumbled upon a loophole, or at least an unaddressed section of the rule book.
Mitchell Trubisky completed a pass -- or at least appeared to complete a pass -- to Bears receiver Anthony Miller just before halftime of Sunday's Bears-Eagles wild-card contest, an excruciating 16-15 loss for Chicago. That reception was then ripped out of Miller's hands by Eagles defensive back Cre'von LeBlanc and ruled an incomplete pass.
Replay review revealed Miller caught the pass, took three steps and then lost possession of the ball before he was downed. There was a problem, though: No one recovered the ball from either team.
The dead ball was picked up by an official.
Seems ordinary, right? The ball was dead, so there's no reason to recover it. But often, defenders will still recover a ball they think might have been a fumble instead of being initially ruled dead. A Ravens defender returned a potential fumble by Melvin Gordon for 100 useless yards (Gordon was ruled down in the end zone, then overturned to being down at the 1) in the day's first game. A Browns defender recovered a loose ball that was initially blown dead as a touchdown against the Ravens a week earlier.
Cleveland was awarded the ball upon review, which determined it to be a fumble and a Browns recovery, even though the play was blown dead. Had an Eagle (or a Bear) recovered the ball, the same would have happened Sunday.
But since it didn't, mass confusion ensued. Officials stuck with the incomplete ruling, because neither team gained definitive possession. Senior VP of officiating Al Riveron weighed in later Sunday.
And it turns out, deep in the replay review archives, we had a ruling on this specific scenario:
Riveron will join "Good Morning Football" on Monday at 8:15 a.m. ET to discuss the wild-card games.