Coughlin: Refs were right on Cruz fumble

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It may have pained him to say it, but New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin gave the officials credit on Monday.

Coughlin said they made the right call on Victor Cruz's first-quarter fumble against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, which was returned for touchdown -- a critical play in the Cowboys' 24-21 victory.

"When I looked at the tape today, the forward progress is not stopped," Coughlin said. "So that was not even an issue when you looked at the tape, and that’s exactly what the official told me. Forward progress had not been stopped."

On the play, Cruz made a short reception and was then tackled by multiple Dallas defenders. Before Cruz fell to the ground, he was stripped of the ball by Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick, and it was returned 50 yards for a touchdown by safety Jeff Heath.

"We all would have loved to have had the whistle blow in that case, but it didn't. And Victor was driving as hard as he could to get more yardage, and there were three or four Dallas defenders that were flying to the ball there," Coughlin said. "And in one desperate attempt I think to get further up the field, the ball gets ripped out and right into someone’s hands and he takes it and runs into the end zone.

"There wasn’t anything to discuss there after watching the tape."

That was the first score of the game, and the Cowboys never trailed Sunday, defeating the Giants for the second time this season and all but snuffing out New York's postseason hopes in the process.