2023 NFL playoffs: Remarkable 1-handed Devonta Smith catch that set up first Eagles TD shouldn't have counted
Philadelphia Eagles receiver DeVonta Smith set up the first touchdown of Sunday's NFC championship game with what looked like a remarkable catch.
But replay shows that he didn't maintain control of the ball, and the Eagles should have turned the ball over on downs. Officials missed the call on the field, and the Eagles hurried up for their next play before the San Francisco 49ers had a chance to challenge.
The play took place early in the first quarter from the San Francisco 35-yard line. Instead of a long field goal on fourth-and-3, the Eagles opted to go for the first down. They did not play it safe. Quarterback Jalen Hurts escaped pressure and rolled out to his left. He looked deep down the sideline to Smith, who was beyond a pair of 49ers defenders near the goal line. Smith adjusted to the ball then leapt for a one-handed grab before falling at the 6-yard line.
Two plays later, Miles Sanders ran in for a touchdown and the Eagles led 7-0 after a Jake Elliott extra point. It turns out that the score never should have happened.
Slow-motion replay shows that Smith didn't maintain control of the catch as he went to the ground. It would have easily been overturned had officials reviewed the play.
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But they never got the chance. Smith rushed his teammates to the line of scrimmage, apparently aware that he might not have actually caught the ball. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan didn't challenge it. And what should have been a turnover on downs instead resulted in an Eagles touchdown to start the game.
The Eagles rode the momentum to a dominant performance in a 31-7 win to earn a trip to the Super Bowl.