Earnest Byner said the pass was thrown hard and high, but that it was catchable. He said for that part of the Washington Redskins' 21-10 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday, blame him.
"It didn't even touch my hands," Byner told WMAL radio. "It hit my shoulder pads. What happened was that the ball came in on a rising angle, and I think that's why I jumped up to try to catch it. All that was instinctive. If you look at the films, you see my hands are up and in an awkward position."
The Redskins had rallied from a 14-0 deficit, trailed 14-10 and had driven to the Giants 3-yard line when Stan Humphries threw to an open Byner in the end zone.
The ball bounced off his shoulder pads, over his right shoulder and into the hands of Giants safety Greg Jackson. Humphries had completed 11 straight passes at that point and that interception was followed by another, which Everson Walls returned 28 yards for a clinching touchdown.
Byner has declined to talk about the incident, saying he's no longer speaking to print reporters. But he did speak with WMAL, the Redskins' flagship station. "You can't make any excuses," he said. "I should have made the play. I've caught that ball I don't know how many times. . . .
"What you need to do is move to get over to the ball. At the time, all I was thinking of was trying to catch the ball with my body. Looking at the ball, I thought it would continue to rise on me and that's what it did. I jumped and it hit me on my shoulder and hands and it bounced straight up. You can't catch it the way I was trying to catch it."
Byner, saying he understood that he had to shoulder a share of the blame, added: "We're all going to make mistakes, no matter how long we've been playing. What we have to do is overcome the mistakes we do make. . . . We all want to do the best we can. But in all instances, it's not going to come out the way we want it. Everybody sort of forgets that we are human."
Byner, as Coach Joe Gibbs had a day earlier, pointed out that his mistake was one of several by the Redskins in losing their sixth straight to the Giants.
"Everybody's always looking for somebody to blame," he said. "That's the bottom line. They've got to have a goat, to say he's the one that cost us the whole game. If you look at the films and understand the game, you know that it takes more than one play to lose a game."