Lions Robbed of Win in Controversial Call

Some people were predicting a breakout season for the Detroit Lions this year and maybe even a playoff appearance. I was expecting a turnaround for the Lions too, and getting a road win over the Bears in week one would have been an excellent start to the season. If only a bad rule did not get in the way.

With 31 seconds left and his team down 19-14, backup quarterback Shaun Hill threw into the end zone for receiver Calvin Johnson. Johnson skied for the grab, landed on the ground with his butt and knee hitting the turf in what appeared to be the game-winning catch. After having control of the ball, Johnson went to put the ball on the turf and lost control. It was this part of the catch that was controversial and the referees overturned the touchdown call, waving off the play. The Lions threw two more incompletions and lost 19-14.

So what was the official rule that got in the way? From DetroitLions.com, “The ruling is that in order for the catch to be completed he has got to maintain possession of the ball throughout the entire process of the catch.” If 9 out of 10 non-Bears fans would tell you that’s a catch, then it should be a catch. Sometimes we get too technical with our rules and that is a classic example. Sucks for Detroit because they should be 1-0.

Here’s the Calvin Johnson touchdown video that was overturned:

Pool Report Regarding Johnson Incompletion [DetroitLions.com]
Video Credit: YouTube user krem9one
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

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  • Anonymous

    The rule sucks, but they misapplied it here. The universal rule in all of football is when you’re down, when your knee or body is down, the
    play is over. dead. So how can you have another rule that says the play goes beyond just being down? Would this rule not allow a defensive
    player to clobber any wideout who catches the ball and falls to the ground to knock the ball out? Course we all know they’d get 15yds doing it.

    As far as the misapplication, the rule says nothing about getting up. And you can see in the video that his body was actually rising up as he pushed
    the ball into the turf to get up. If they did follow the rule correctly, they’d rule that when his body hit the ground, he had control. End of play, TD.

    I’d like to point out all the times we’ve seen wideouts catch TDs, take 2 steps and immediately spike the ball. Where exactly does the ‘process’ end
    for such a play? How is that ok? Johnson certainly caught it and got both feet on the ground…and then both feet again…and then his
    knee, and then his azz…. The NFL and other leagues should take a hint from the NHL and change such stupid rules for week 2, not
    in the offseason.

  • http://www.thebrianspeer.com Brian Speer

    That was quite a bogus call. I thought if you maintain control of the ball for 3 maneuvers or until one knee hit the ground it counted. That will probably go down as one of the worst call of the season.

  • Gene

    He had total control of the ball until he tried to use the hand to get up. It was a catch, pure and simple. If he had stayed down it would have been a catch. There is no way that this should have been anything but a touchdown.

  • http://twitter.com/TaurusMan TaurusMan

    I guess if your a Detroit team then your screwed. How many times in the past several years have we seen a very BAD call against a Detroit team happened? I am so amazed that these officals can hold their head high after making these very bad calls. Sorry Detroit, you are better then the officals say you are, and oh by the way in everybody elses eyes you WON, except for those officals your LOSERS.