Eagles' Smith appears to drop imperative one-handed grab


It didn’t take long for controversy to strike in the NFC Championship Game between the 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles.

On fourth-and-3 from the 49ers’ 35-yard line, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts fired a deep pass down the sideline to receiver DeVonta Smith, who made an incredible one-handed catch to move the chains.

Philadelphia rushed down the field to get its next snap off as quickly as possible. The Eagles capped off the drive with Miles Sanders' six-yard touchdown scamper for a 7-0 lead.

Once the dust settled from the touchdown, replays of Smith’s catch began circulating that indicate the football hit the turf as the receiver tried to secure the possession.

If 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan challenged the catch, it likely would have been overturned. San Francisco's offense would have taken over with a first-and-10 from its own 35.

Instead, Philadelphia grabbed a 7-0 lead, and the 49ers’ first offensive drive ended with a fumble by quarterback Brock Purdy.

Shanahan likely didn't challenge the play because he didn't have time to see a replay. Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio offered insight that the replay assistant at Lincoln Financial Field or officials at Gameday Central in New York could have stopped the action before the Eagles ran their next play. 

"The expedited replay review process includes catch/no-catch within the group of plays that can be changed without a full-blown replay review," Florio wrote.

If the NFC Championship Game doesn’t end up in San Francisco's favor, this moment will haunt 49ers Faithful into the offseason.

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