Calvin Johnson rule steals victory from the Bengals

Four weeks ago, a questionable application of a questionable rule caused the Lions to lose against the Bears in Chicago.

Today, a horrible application of that same questionable rule sent the Bengals to defeat against the Bucs.

After Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer threw his third interception, which was returned by safety Sabby Piscitelli (which also remains my favorite dish at the Olive Garden) to the Cincinnati 34, Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman threw a 21-yard pass to receiver Micheal Spurlock, who caught it at the sidelines and fell out of bounds.

Replays showed that Spurlock, who was falling as he made the catch, failed to maintain possession of the ball once he struck the ground.  So after further review, the call on the field of a completed pass would be overturned, right?

Um, wrong.

The call inexplicably stood, and on the next play the Bucs kicked the game-winning field goal.

Though it was simply a bad mistake, the fact that it involved one of the most controversial rules in the sport will do nothing to reduce the controversy regarding the rule.

Meanwhile, the Bucs are 3-1 — a year after going 3-13.  And the Bengals are 2-3, a year after winning the AFC North.

62 responses to “Calvin Johnson rule steals victory from the Bengals

  1. Good old Bungles. They had their once every 5 years good season, now it’s back to normal. Face it, Carson Palmer is a mediocre QB who had 2 good years.

  2. I didn’t see this game. Was there “justification” of why it was a catch?
    Did they say there wasn’t evidence to over turn?

  3. Either way the Bucs were still in field goal range so I wouldn’t necessarily say the call caused the Bengals to lose. In fact you can apply that same analogy to the Michael Spurlock fumble on the kickoff return that lead to a Bengals TD, some might say his elbow was down before he fumbled.
    Tampa should have beat them by more the Mike Williams fumble (caused by the ground) on the 2 yd line allowed the Bengals to hang around longer than they should have.

  4. As a Bucs fan I can admit that I don’t think that was a catch. I know how much it sucks to be on the wrong side of the call (See the Redskins vs Bucs playoff game where we were screwed by the call on a long touchdown to Lee with time running out) and many others (See 1999 NFC championship game and many others).
    But…to say that this stole a game from the Bengals is just biased reporting. The Bucs would have been kicking a 52 yard field goal (which Barth can make) and if that didn’t go in it would have gone to overtime. Headlining this article “Stole game” is incredibly misleading.

  5. The call didn’t cost the Benglas victory. The score at the time was tied.
    Even if it was overturned, Bucs would have had a 50 yard field goal to win.

  6. Unless you had access to replays other than what they showed on tv…their was no indisputable evidence that he failed to make the catch and maintain possession through the ground.
    The real question I have is that once the whistle blows…the play is over. Late in the 3rd quarter the whistle blew on a kickoff return after the guy appeared to have been tackled. However the ball came out (after the whistle blew) and Bengals picked it up and ran with it. I don’t recall any rule changes that allow play to continue after a whistle is blown…in fact I can recall some instances when the whistle was blown inadvertently and play was stopped when it shouldn’t have.

  7. Florio, your headline makes no sense. How can you say the call stole the game from the Bengals? It was 21-21, and the Bucs were in position to kick a 51 yarder if the play is overturned. Pick better words next time. In the meantime, the Bengals deserved to lose thanks to Palmer throwing the ball away.

  8. The camera shots were definitely non conclusive which probably accounts for upholding the original call. Plus Its not like a FG would have been impossible without the catch.

  9. “which also remains my favorite dish at the Olive Garden”
    Come on Florio eat at Outback instead much better taste

  10. Florio, get your facts right, that was not Spurlock, but Mike Williams who indeed made the catch, despite your wishing that he hadn’t. As the above postsd state, there was not sufficient evidenct to overrule it. As far as ‘stealing one’, the Bucs could have still kicked the 54 yarder to win it. It’s been done before. The only thing “stolen” was Cinci’s horrible flags, and undisciplined team. They have only themselves to blame. Carson Palmer is suddenly colorblind. Whatever you do, don’t give credit to a young Tampa Bay team for a gutsy come from behind win.

  11. LOL…Bungles enjoy your 7-9 season. I guess you guys will be ready to contend in 2014 given your gaps between winning seasons.

  12. A more appropriate headline would be “Carson Palmer throws another pick that cost the Bengals a win” Keep hating on the Bucs Mr. Florio I love seeing you eat your own words… The Bucs are one of the youngest teams in the league with solid young skill players so keep the Buc bashing coming.

  13. What happend to the “unstoppable high powered offense” we heard Bengal fan popping off about all pre-season?
    Even worse, now the defense can’t even stop a second year QB playing on their own field.

  14. Ooops, my bad, that was Spurlock. I’ve had Williams stuck in my head because Freeman was throwing to him all day. Nevertheless, give Tampa some credit for playing a good game.

  15. I think it’s high time for Carson Palmer to start shouldering some of the blame for the inept offense in Cincinnati.
    Everyone’s asking the right questions “how can the Bengals be so weak despite all their talent?” I realize that OchoCinco and Owens have bad reputations, but you can’t argue with their talent.
    No one looks to Palmer for the answers, because he’s perceived as a good leader and has some charisma, but he’s simply not that good. He is one of two guys who touches the ball every play, and therefore deserves a larger cut of the blame.
    Additionally, Marvin Lewis has failed to produce any meaningful consistency as far as winning is concerned.

  16. Nothing but three INTs lost the game for the Bengals. They are clearly competing for third place in the AFC North.

  17. It sucks being a Browns fan in constant rebuilding. It has to suck more being a bengal fan and seeing this team that is about to be gutted. Palmer is past his prime (did he have a prime? 2005?), Ocho Cinco has gone missing, and the Defense was all hype and no results.
    The Browns lost to the Bucs in similar fashion. On the road. Even mediocre teams don’t lose games the way the bengals just lost.

  18. I’ve been a Bengals fan for more than 30 years. I’ve watched them go to 2 Super Bowls and both times watched them get beaten by Joe Montana.
    Since the 90s rolled around, those good times of thinking “next year is the year” have faded away.
    I have always been a big Carson Palmer fan, and it pains me to finally admit what other division rival fans have been saying for awhile..
    Palmer is not good.
    He used to be. I guess. He had “something”. Now, however, he’s just out of it. He tries to force things, and they just fall apart.
    This will be the last year of Marvin Lewis being the head coach. It will be interesting to see if this makes things worse or better. After today, I take back any bragging from the win over the Ravens.
    We lucked out.
    Find a new QB to train, and get Jeff Garcia before the Eagles get him back. Time to rebuild.

  19. Man, Florio. You are such an effing Bucs hater. This team rebounds from young team mistakes, pulls out an incredible comeback against a veteran team on the road, and all you can talk about is how “victory was stolen” due to a controversial first down. The Bucs still had a 50 yarder lined up to win the game if the play is overturned. Also, I’d argue it was Aqib Talib, Sabby Piscitelli, Josh Freeman, and Mike Williams (with a dash of Carson Palmer and his offensive coordinator) who stole the victory from the Bengals.

  20. Ahhh…Who Dey, Who Dey? Let me tell you “Who Dey”…..Dey lost to the Bucs…..Dey lost to the Brownies…..Dey have a really sucky QB in Palmer….Dey gonna end up in last place in the AFC North…..Dey make all Steeler fans laugh.

  21. Carson was a very good QB, rated just behind PeyTom Braming by most.
    Then he got hurt and his mind snapped.
    You hear about him screaming at the other league QB’s “One of us is going to get KILLED out there!”
    Never the same after the knee injury.

  22. “Steals victory from the Bengals”
    What the hell are you talkin’ about? Where you watching the game?

  23. You even watch the replays?
    Where did he lose possession?
    Highlights on NFL Network just played and all the analysts said “oh, great catch.”
    All agreed it was a catch.
    You’re just trying to generate hits.
    And doing a wonderful job.

  24. not to mention Spurlock didn’t have both feet down. His right foot comes up before he makes the catch.
    That said, the Bengals have themselves to blame for this one.

  25. Steals the victory? Seriously? Was Cincinnati ahead at the time of the play in question? Not to mention the fact the “Calvin Johnson Rule” applies to the end zone, not the side line.
    You’re wrong, Mike. It’s ok, one team can beat another without controversy. Just let it go.

  26. @poodawg – Carson Palmer has not been the same since kimo von oelhoffen killed his knee in the playoffs. that being said, the Bengals still are a very tough matchup for my Ravens.
    The biggest issue IMHO is really a lack of heart. Guys like TO and Chad Johnson may be talented players, but they are not good team players. They bring down your team.
    It’s still a long season, but this loss today for you guys was a real bummer. Marvin is going to have some real work to do to keep the guys from packing it in especially with characters like those two on the team.
    I still can’t figure out why he is still the head coach. This is his 7th or 8th year and he has never had 2 winning seasons in a row. He doesn’t even have a 500 record. But I guess if he gets fired, Mike Brown still has to pay him and to Brown that is not acceptable. It’s nice to have an owner like Steve B. who wants to win but trusts his management. He decided to fire BB despite owing him over 10 million dollars. That takes something that Mike Brown will never have.

  27. Carson was never a great NFL quarterback. Bengals fans put him up there based on one good pass….right before he crumpled on the field.

  28. I’d say Carson Palmer’s usual choking had a lot more to do with the loss than any call.
    And please, how long does Palmer get to ride the knee excuse? How many years ago was that? Gimme a break. Seriously, ppdouche, you’ve GOT to lay off that garbage. Palmer’s problem isn’t his knee, it’s his throat. Choke choke choke — like he did BEFORE the knee got hit.

  29. Florio=Idiot. He should be in charge of officiating. He knows everything. To blame Palmer is a little over the top. I’m not sure hitting Chad in the hands and him dropping it for an INT, setting up the game winner is Palmer’s fault. Or the push off by Owens that resulted in a PI is his fault either. But I guess they need someone to blame. Why not Palmer? Go Bucs!!!!!

  30. There were several controversial calls in thsi one. Spurlock was invovle in not only the play that “stole victory” for the Bengals, but also the fumbled kick return earlier in the quarter that set the Bengals up to score the TD that put them ahead 19-14 and eventually 21-14. That call was closer than the Spurlock catch at the end. To me, it looked as if his elbow was down before the ball came loose. I dont think that catch at the end should have been ruled a catch, not because he didnt have control…but because he didnt have both feet down in the first place. It amazes me how much of a Buc hater Florio is. Im sensing some bitterness tha tthe bucs have aready hit your predicted 3 wins over the next three years in just 4 games. Florio, you can choose not to give credit to the Bucs for the rest of the year whether it be one more game or seven. The fact is though…the Bucs are 3-1. The three wins are very ugly…but wins in the NFL dont come with asterisks. I am excited about the Bucs future. An article needs to be written on how much Freeman has grown since last year in my opinion.

  31. @frankly speaking – i’m not making excuses for Palmer. I made an observation. He has not been the same QB since the injury. Not a low blow, just the truth. If you are a Bungles fan and don’t like Carson then just say so. Calling me a douche just shows your level of intelligence. you are like the Democrats… If you can’t win an argument with facts, just call your opponent a homophobe, racist, misogynist etc.
    Frankly speaking – are you related to Frank Burns?

  32. I know logic is not your strong point Florio… But… At the end of the play, the ball was still in Spurlocks hands! On the Calvin play it was not a catch because he did not end the play with the ball in his hands! You want to ensure that its ruled a catch, end the play with the ball in your hands. Not that hard to understand.

  33. That’s fine, Ben Gals lose, bottom line. After the terrible officiating in the Ben Gals/Ravens game, there were many fans from Cincy saying they didn’t care, it didn’t matter because they won, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH both on here & NFL Sirius Radio. Well look there, it went against them today, paybacks are a B*tch Ben Gal fans. I also think it’s funny the Ben Gals have now lost to the Browns & Bucs the last 2 weeks. It’s funny because so many Ben Gal fans were on here saying the Ravens were terrible because they only beat the Browns by 7. Cleveland is a better team than a lot of people think. So there you have it Ben Gal fans, you have now lost to a team you all say was so terrible, the Browns & now the Bucs, probably considered by many the worst team in the league. You must be so proud!!

  34. What a game it was, that young Bucs team is very exciting to watch. They have a bright future!

  35. It can’t be stealing when it’s wrapped up as a gift. Thanks for the reacharound anyway Florio…between the Reds and Bengals I was feeling a little sore ;p

  36. miggz says:
    October 10, 2010 5:35 PM
    Ahhh…Who Dey, Who Dey? Let me tell you “Who Dey”…..Dey lost to the Bucs…..Dey lost to the Brownies…..Dey have a really sucky QB in Palmer….Dey gonna end up in last place in the AFC North…..Dey make all Steeler fans laugh.
    Steelers fans were laughing through the tears last year.

  37. @PARavensJeff:
    Consider the 3-1 Bucs to be the worst team in the league? Even before the season most people expected 4-5 teams to be below them. Now I do believe that distinction resides in Charlotte, or possibly Buffalo. Shoot, they’ve been better all year long than Cleveland who you’ve also mentioned. Don’t ignorantly try to tear another team down in your effort to make somebody else look bad. Enjoy the fact that your Ravens are the cream of the AFC North, and be careful you don’t lose to the woeful Bucs later (unlikely, but possible, especially since your one loss was against who … oh yeah, the Bengals).

  38. There was bad officiating on all sides of this one. The camera cut away on this truly amazing catch by Spurlock (who was competing for a roster spot a few weeks ago) so there was no solid evidence to overturn the ruling on the field, that sucks but the same thing happened on his fumble in the 3rd that Cinci rolled to a TD. Sloppy game on all sides, but I’m getting sick of you saying TB’s wins are too good to be true, you were wrong, get over it! Can’t wait to watch you play pretend reporter on SNF tonight.

  39. Im not tearing down another team in an effort to make somebody else look bad. Listen to Sirius NFL radio & the Ben Gal fans calling in before they lost the last 2 games. The Bucs were considered by many to win 2 games again this year, good for them winning 3 so far. Yeas, the Panthers have no clue, Clausen has no business being on the field right now & the Bills are just pitiful. & yes, the Ben Gals won, in large part to the poor officiating, which came back to bite all those fans in Cincy who were cheering it & all for it when it got them the W against the Ravens. I do enjoy the fact where the Ravens currently sit, but I can guarentee you they are not happy & will not be unless they win the SB!! GO RAVENS!!!

  40. You can’t put the outcome on a blown call by the officials. The referees weren’t throwing the ball or tackling runners.
    There is something wrong with Carson Palmer’s passing. Palmer used to terrify defenses. It has been suggested that it all started after the injury to Palmer’s elbow. He elected to not have surgery.
    GO STEELERS!

  41. Hey Florio,
    I am flattered you used my Olive Garden joke from the draft day chat when Sabby Piscitelli was chosen. But how about about crediting your source?

  42. what a sorry excuse for a writer, and you have a college degree for this…the storyline should have been the bucs stealing this game because we did…carson palmer is garbage..they ran all over us even with 8 men in the box yet they decided to throw the ball when they had the game one….idiot florio are you a buc hater cuz we are winning because you cant even give a winning team their props…our kicker is a 100% this year even if the call had come back chances are he still could have kicked a game winner

  43. You lose more credibility with this one Florio, and i didn’t think that was possible.
    How can you say a rule stole the game from the other team when the score was tied and there was time on the clock?
    If the call is not a catch the bucs kick a 50 yd fg for the win. if the bucs miss the fg we have overtime. if the bucs win the toss there is a good possiblity they win the game. if the bengals win the toss they might win the game…who really knows…maybe one of the 4 turnovers stole the game from the bengals…or maybe it was one of freeman’s td passes…or maybe it was the the 60 yd run from the 1 yd line by graham…maybe i’ll write a story about how those things stole the game from the bengals.

  44. I normally look at PFT during work and seldom, if ever, write in to comment, mostly because it will be redundant to what others are saying. However, I have to add my two cents on the current state of the Bengals. I had hoped that all the hype of the new “weapons” Cincy acquired during the preseason would put us over the top in the competitive AFC North. But….it has become another season of the same old sh!t. No heart, no emotion, no accountability and no coaching. Palmer is pathetic, Lewis is no better and we rehash every game by blaming the O line, the qb, the OC, etc. Steeler and Ravens fans get on here and chide Cincy fans about our team and we get PO’d and fire back about rapists and murderers. But as a Bengal fan I take my hat off to both of those organizations because they have solid teams EVERY year and they know how to win. We cannot put a competitive team on the field each year! No matter how much I will this team to improve, we seem to wallow in our ineptness each year. To not be able to put back-to-back winning seasons together for 20 years speaks volumes to how our organization is run. I would like Palmer, Lewis and Brat to be let go during this bye week but their replacements would just continue the legacy. It is time this 30 year Bengals fan decides to find another team to root for. I am so tired of waiting for next year or the next big stud. We will only ruin him like we ruined Palmer.

  45. What helped that review turn out in the Bucs’ favor was that it was called a completion on the field. I guarantee you if it had been called incomplete, the review wouldn’t have overturned it either. There simply wasn’t indisputable visual evidence to overturn the original call.

  46. Florio you are a dumbs a**……here is the MAJOR difference between Spurlocks catch and Johnsons catch:
    1. Johnson completely lost the ball when he was going down….Spurlock cought the ball, maintained posession while going down and when the ball hit the ground and shifted in his hands he still posessed it, never di he drop the ball until he had to let go of it to get off the ground. Calvin Johnson dropped it while still making the play…..get a real skill you cock sucker

  47. Florio this is my first time ever coming on you crappy reporting blog or whatever its called and i can tell you this….you suck bum!!!! you should try writing for water polo

  48. Mike Florio is a lawyer but a miserable interpretator of the rules.
    The rule used for the Spurlock catch is not the same as the rule used for Megatron or Clayton’s non catch last season.
    It was close as to whether the correct application was used and therefore likely the correct ruling not to overturn the ruling on the field.
    With that said….the call didn’t cost the Bengals the game as the game was tied and the Bucs would have lined up to kick a longer FG which Barth has proven he can make.
    Stick to lawyering.

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