It’s always confusing when a quarterback loses control of the ball as they try to throw. We’ve seen it in a million replay challenges: The refs look to see whether the quarterback’s arm was moving forward to determine whether the play was an incomplete forward pass or a fumble.
On this play in New York Jets-Seattle Seahawks, Ryan Fitzpatrick lost the ball and it squirted across the line of scrimmage. Everybody assumed it was an incompletion, except rookie Charone Peake, who picked the ball up and ran it into the end zone for his first NFL touchdown.
The referee went to the booth to look at Fitzpatrick’s arm. Luckily, they had some help. Seahawks safety Earl Thomas KNEW Fitzpatrick’s arm was going forward, and took a moment to scream it into the ref’s microphone so the entire stadium knew what had happened.
Although Earl was just trying to be helpful, he turned out to be wrong. The refs ruled Fitzpatrick’s arm wasn’t going forward, and the touchdown stood.