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Calvin Johnson, Lions thwarted by bad rule

Posted on: September 12, 2010 4:35 pm
Edited on: September 12, 2010 6:14 pm
Posted by Josh Katzowitz

If you want to blame the officials for the Calvin Johnson TD catch not counting late in the Bears-Lions game, that’s OK. If you want to curse and say, “What the hell was the referee doing under that hood? Why didn’t he overturn an incomplete call on what was very obviously a TD call?” that’s all right, too.

On the surface, the sequence of events that secured Chicago’s 19-14 win against Detroit seems drastically unfair. And it is unfair. It’s a silly, stupid rule. But blame the rule. Don’t blame the officials.

Here’s how it set up: QB Shaun Hill threw a pretty pass to Calvin Johnson in the corner of the end zone with less than a minute to play. Johnson caught the ball over Bears DB Zackary Bowman and landed his feet and his body with the ball secured in his hands. Then he put the ball on the ground.

Whether he was using the ball to help himself up or whether he just lost control for a second (he had only one hand on the ball at that point), that’s where the controversy comes in. Was it a catch? Absolutely. Should it have been a TD? For sure. Is it spelled out that way in the rule book? No.

Because he was still “in the process” of catching the TD pass, what was, at first, ruled a TD was quickly overruled as an incomplete pass. The official’s review confirmed the second ruling on the field.

Here’s what the rule states (hat tip to Pro Football Talk ): "If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball after he touches the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete."

Yes, the rule is unfair, and there’s no doubt that it’ll be under intense scrutiny. But it wasn’t the referee’s fault. He was just correctly enacting what is a stupid rule. A stupid, stupid rule.

Your eyes – and mine – told you that Johnson caught a TD pass. It should have been.

UPDATE (6:13 p.m.): Reaction from Johnson: "I thought it was a catch, I figured if I got two feet and a knee down, it was a catch. I thought we finally won in Chicago. It is what it is, and now it’s over."

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: February 1, 2012 1:10 am

Calvin Johnson, Lions thwarted by bad rule

Extraordinary goods. I'll go ahead and come to pass for a second time the time too much before you know it to pass through most somewhat more.

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 4, 2011 12:30 pm

Calvin Johnson, Lions thwarted by bad rule

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Since: Sep 17, 2010
Posted on: September 17, 2010 11:03 am

Calvin Johnson, Lions thwarted by bad rule

Dude, the Lions were playing with their backup QB.  They had a 14-3 lead while he was in the game.  I'm tired of Bears fans insisting they outplayed the Lions by far.  The Lions had the edge until they lost their QB.  In terms of that Johnson call, it was horrendous.  The rule exists, but there are other rules that contradict that one.  Read the complete rule book for a valid catch; Johnson fulfilled all of the requirements.  The rule everyone is citing is not even applicable; he had control of the ball after touching the ground.  Besides, on the very next play, the Lions went back to Johnson in the endzone and he was absolutely mugged by a Bears defender, well before the ball go there.  No call, naturally.

Since: Apr 2, 2009
Posted on: September 13, 2010 3:32 pm

Calvin Johnson, Lions thwarted by bad rule

I agree the lions did nothing to beat the bears. The bears had 4 turnovers because they couldn't hold onto the ball. The defense I thought until the very end played very well. The bears were beating themselves due to the turnovers which kill you. The bears easily could have ran the score up over 30pts as Cutler torched the lions defense and Forte got it goin late. It is the first game of the season and to early to tell but if the bears can eliminate the turnovers they could be a dangerous team.

Since: Sep 12, 2010
Posted on: September 12, 2010 11:07 pm

Calvin Johnson, Lions thwarted by bad rule

Ok Im not a Lions fan but I dont have a vendetta against them either. And do I think Johnson's play SHOULD be a touchdown....yes I do. But that doesn't change the fact that it wasn't a touchdown. And it wasnt a bad call or a conspiracy against Detroit or an alien attempt to infiltrate the NFL or any other crazy just wasn't a touchdown.
This play is completely different that a running back crossing the plane of the end zone so comparing to that is pointless since its a totally separate issue. The real issue isnt even whether or not it qualified as a touchdown. The problem is before you decide if he was in bounds inside the end zone long enough for a reception to count as a touchdown you have to determine if there was ever a reception in the first place. Johnson got more than enough body parts on the ground in the end zone, but he never completed the reception so that doesnt matter. He has to maintain control of the ball throughout the entire process of the catch, which involves falling to the ground. And since his momentum caused him to hit the ground on his side and roll over, that roll over is part of the "process" of the catch. Even though he caught the ball and controlled the ball as he fell and hit the ground, he didn't maintain possession throughout the entire process. I know Lions fans will see it as a fall and roll over, and then "turned and used the ball to get up"......but it was all the same process of hitting the ground and rolling over and he didn't finish that with control of the ball. 
The play looked like a touchdown and he made a great play that deserved to be a touchdown. But when you're talking about the greatest athletes in the world playing against each other you need very specific definitions of what qualifies as a catch, or as a touchdown.

Since: Sep 12, 2010
Posted on: September 12, 2010 10:30 pm

Calvin Johnson, Lions thwarted by bad rule

The Lions did NOTHING to beat the Bears today.  The Bears beat the Bears today ei: 4 TO's inside the Red Zone.  How did the Lions Beat the Bears Bad when the total yards for the Bears were 475 and the total yards for the Lions were 168.   You know the Bears Tripled the total yards of the Lions?   In Know way did the Lions Beat the Bears today, in fact the Bears beat the Lions badly, ask your QB with his arm in a sling.

Since: Sep 12, 2010
Posted on: September 12, 2010 10:26 pm

Calvin Johnson, Lions thwarted by bad rule

It hurts. First Galarraga for the Tigers now this. Maybe not the same level in reference to a place in history, but to true, die hard Lions fans, this one was brutal. Especially because the closest referee throws his hands in the air to signify a TD immediately.
Just to get this straight - if a reciever catches a ball whlile loosing his balance, takes 4-5 steps backwards or any way for that matter, falls to the ground and loses the ball, is that an incompletion??
How about the running back (which i saw today) run into the endzone on a long break away run, cross the goal line by mere inches, and throw the ball toward the crowd. Is that a touchdown??
Seriously. All of sports is getting a little to technical for me. Common sense need to be taken into consideration when calls are bad (Galarraga) or rules may have a loop hole that can cost a city in dispair a much needed victory.

Thats all right Detroit. We'll get there.

Since: Dec 19, 2009
Posted on: September 12, 2010 8:44 pm

Calvin Johnson, Lions thwarted by bad rule

you idiot. if stafford didn't get hurt the lions would have killed the bears. the lions are definitely the better team.

Since: Apr 6, 2010
Posted on: September 12, 2010 8:42 pm

Calvin Johnson, Lions thwarted by bad rule

When did they make this rule for the endzone? Because I remember Jeremy Shockey making a catch a couple years back against the Seahawks in the endzone and getting one foot down before getting blasted just as the second foot tapped and he dropped it when he hit.

Since: Aug 28, 2009
Posted on: September 12, 2010 8:37 pm

Calvin Johnson, Lions thwarted by bad rule

     That was highway robbery, and I guess the ground can now cause a fumble outside the endzone(ridiculous Hightower "fumble").  The zebras were way too much a part of the first week.  There has to be some room for interpretation by the ref on the field.  That was a great play by a great player to win a game, but for the small print.

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