Reliving the big play of the day

Bills' ball, first and 10 from the Buffalo 22, 13 minutes, 35 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, New England winning 20-10.

The Bills lined up in a spread formation with four wide receivers and a tight end ready to go out. Peerless Price was in the slot on the left side. Two other receivers were to his left.

New England played a dime defense, rushing four and sending six defensive backs and a linebacker to cover.

Drew Bledsoe dropped back and Price ran a quick up-and-in. Bledsoe promptly hit him at the 29 for a seven-yard gain. Cornerback Otis Smith, playing significantly off Price, came up to tackle. Price tried to shake him by shifting his momentum and forcing the veteran to lose grasp. That forced Smith over Price's shoulder. The receiver looked like he might break free. Smith's only hope was to grab for the ball. So he got two hands on it and ripped it from Price's clasp, using his momentum to gain control of the football. Smith then recovered the fumble.

Price argued that his forward progress was stopped and he was down, but to no avail. Because he was positioned such a way where his knees could not touch the ground to end the play, the referee did not whistle the play did.

Seven plays later, Antowain Smith's four-yard touchdown run sealed the game, 27-10. Price's fumble conceivably caused a 14-point swing because the Bills moved the ball well early in the second half.

"That was a huge swing right there," said Gregg Williams. "We got to come up with a stop."

"The first (official) said he had me down," Peerless Price said. "The other guy (didn't think that was the case). So, I don't know. I'm still supposed to hold onto the ball regardless."


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