What an (almost) catch.
In the first quarter of the Eagles-49ers NFC championship game, Philly wideout DeVonta Smith made one of the best grabs of the entire 2023 NFL season. He came down with a one-handed, fourth-down grab that set Philadelphia for their first touchdown of the game.
It was the sort of highlight reel stuff that hit the Twittersphere quickly, but there is a catch — it actually wasn’t a catch.
Playmakers making plays 🔥 @DeVontaSmith_6
📺: #SFvsPHI on FOX
📱: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/FKUP5TdmfQ pic.twitter.com/RYQ2bduiRa
— NFL (@NFL) January 29, 2023
MORE: Who is the 49ers backup quarterback?
It took a bit for Fox to get to a replay, and a clear one at that, but a replay shown well after the fact did, indeed, confirm that the ball hit the ground.
The Devonta Smith one-handed catch should’ve actually been incomplete as the ball clearly hit the ground. Eagles hurried to the line, seems like the 49ers didn’t get the correct angle in time. Huge, huge miss.pic.twitter.com/efJ9pmb3sC
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) January 29, 2023
That certainly explains Smith signaling to hurry up, to try and get a snap off to disallow the 49ers from challenging the play. It just about worked: Kyle Shanahnn decided not to challenge the play, and the Eagles would score soon after.
Things would spiral a bit for San Francisco soon after the Eagles touchdown. Brock Purdy would fumble on the ensuing possession, and also get injured on the play, leading to journeyman backup Josh Johnson entering the game.
It certainly was an eventful first quarter, if nothing else.