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Calvin Johnson loses touchdown when ball hits the ground

Johnson AP

Another year, another lost Calvin Johnson touchdown in Week One.

The Lions receiver more popularly known as Megatron had a touchdown removed from the board after a catch near the goal line resulted in Johnson landing in the end zone and losing possession of the ball.  It was called a touchdown on the field.  After automatic replay review, the ruling was change to incomplete.

For Lions fans, it’s an oldie but a not-so-goodie.  In Week One of the 2010 season, Johnson lost a touchdown against the Bears after clearly catching the ball in the end zone and losing possession when touching the ball down with one hand in the end zone.

The rule, which sprouted from a non-catch by former Bucs receiver Bert Emanuel in the 1999 NFC title game, has created conflicting outcomes in recent years.  The rule requires a player who goes to the ground to maintain possession through going to the ground, but it allows the player to lose possession if he’s able to commit a “football move” before hitting the turf.

That has spawned an argument that the rule recognizes that a “second act” wipes out the requirement of keeping possession when hitting the ground.  The second-act exception (which appears nowhere in the rule book) has been applied most prominently in Super Bowl XLIV, when Saints receiver Lance Moore caught a pass at the goal-line on a two-point conversion, shoved the ball across the goal line while falling, and then lost the ball once he hit the ground.

Johnson’s play looked very similar.  He caught the ball outside of the end zone, stuck the ball out as the crossed the plane, and lost the ball when he landed.

Arguably, it was a close call as to whether Johnson made a “football move” or committed a “second act”; the decision made via replay review was that indisputable visual evidence existed to overturn the call.

In the end, that could be where the mistake was made.  While it’s possible Johnson didn’t complete the act of catching, it’s hard to call the ruling on the field indisputably wrong.

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31 Responses to “Calvin Johnson loses touchdown when ball hits the ground”
  1. rodtorfelson says: Sep 8, 2013 1:42 PM

    When is a catch not a catch? Not even the damn NFL knows.

  2. ponderthedumpoffking says: Sep 8, 2013 1:43 PM

    I can’t believe how bad the Vikings defense looks. I wonder what will happen when they play a good team?

  3. jerrykill4pres says: Sep 8, 2013 1:46 PM

    He did lose possession. But the way the lions offense is moving the ball against my vikes D, I don’t think it’s going to matter a whole lot. The lions offense is very good! Vikings better find a way to stop their offense if they want to have a chance here.

  4. ponderthedumpoffking says: Sep 8, 2013 1:49 PM

    I could swear that people said Suh wasn’t going to get any Personal Fouls.

    Also, I could swear that Vikings fans said Christian Ponder was good.

  5. jerrykill4pres says: Sep 8, 2013 1:50 PM

    Man… I love Suh… I hate to say it. But the dirtiest player in the league isn’t changing. I wish someone would take his knees out and ruin his career for good. Such a dirty player.

  6. brewdogg says: Sep 8, 2013 1:52 PM

    Ugly but getting bailed out so far. I guess the D needs more work. As an OL coach, I have to say the Lions OL looks good.

  7. brewdogg says: Sep 8, 2013 1:54 PM

    And a nice deep ball that “noodle armed Ponder chick” just threw….

  8. mrbigass says: Sep 8, 2013 1:57 PM

    It’s a ridiculous rule. I see guys stretch across the goal line with the ball in one hand and hit the turf and immediately lose the ball and they call that a touchdown.

    If you catch it in the endzone it has crossed the line and should be a TD period.

    If you’re on the field of play and lose the ball going to the ground it should be incomplete.

    The goalline should be different. Once it crosses the line it should count…..

  9. johny101010 says: Sep 8, 2013 2:00 PM

    That was a catch. 81 caught the ball and extended for the endzone . That call is and will always be Bu!!sh1t.
    As far as the penalty for 90 the nfl said the players should not lower the crown of the helmet. How come peterson got no penalty on the second td???

  10. brewdogg says: Sep 8, 2013 2:01 PM

    @mrbigass

    Regardless of where it happens, the reciever must establish possession. This is no different than a receiver bobbling the ball as he goes out the corner of the end zone.

  11. isphet71 says: Sep 8, 2013 2:05 PM

    Can’t help but think if it’s any receiver other than Calvin, the stretch would have been called a “football move” and the TD would have counted.

    I can’t seem to get this blue tin foil hat off my head.

  12. wearethesteelers says: Sep 8, 2013 2:09 PM

    Follow through with your catch. If the ball hits the ground and moves as you are going down with it, it’s incomplete. Makes sense to me.

  13. essentialsausage says: Sep 8, 2013 2:10 PM

    The Lions got hosed, again. Calvin already caught the ball before crossing the line into the end zone, meaning it isn’t supposed to matter what happens after the ball is in the end zone.

  14. skolvikes says: Sep 8, 2013 2:12 PM

    johny101010 says: Sep 8, 2013 2:00 PM

    That was a catch. 81 caught the ball and extended for the endzone . That call is and will always be Bu!!sh1t.
    As far as the penalty for 90 the nfl said the players should not lower the crown of the helmet. How come peterson got no penalty on the second td???

    ———————————————————-

    Know the rule, if you’re going to complain about it.

    RBs can’t lower their helmet OUTSIDE THE TACKLE BOX.

  15. ponderthedumpoffking says: Sep 8, 2013 2:13 PM

    That was a nice, aggressive try to get that 1st down on 3rd and 14.

    I feel like Ponder didn’t dump that ball off at all.

  16. granadafan says: Sep 8, 2013 2:17 PM

    It seems like Calvin is going for style points when catching, which is completely absurd. Two years ago he thought that a one handed catch looked cooler so he didn’t bother securing the ball with BOTH hands and bringing it to his body. Plus he let go of it trying to look even cooler. Just catch the ball and hold onto it. Same with that Bronco last week to dropped the ball a yard before crossing the endzone.

  17. FlashPatterson says: Sep 8, 2013 2:17 PM

    ponderthedumpoffking says:
    Sep 8, 2013 1:49 PM
    I could swear that people said Suh wasn’t going to get any Personal Fouls.

    Also, I could swear that Vikings fans said Christian Ponder was good.
    ——————————————————
    When did ANY Vikings fan say Ponder is good? If they have I haven’t heard it yet.

  18. spicyjimbolaya says: Sep 8, 2013 2:35 PM

    Why is Joique Bell allowed to break the plane of the end one and Calvin Johnson is not? I don’t get it.

  19. tablescrappy says: Sep 8, 2013 2:37 PM

    It’s this rule and many others like it that keep me from caring about football all that much. I’ll watch and I’ll root for my fantasy guys, but at the end of the day I can’t give a crap because I have to wait for the refs to interpret ticky tacky rules before they give me permission to give a crap.

  20. jerrykill4pres says: Sep 8, 2013 2:38 PM

    This sure has been a screwy game. Penalties, turnovers, and flat out weird plays.

    Not wanting to say this, but the lions have been shooting themselves in the foot. Take away their stupid, undisciplined penalties, and they would be blowing out the Vikings.

    Yes, lions fans, Megatron did drop that TD pass. Read the rules please.

    The replay got the lions td correct. On both instances! Megatron wasn’t a td, but Bells dive was a TD…

    This has been a sloppy game.. Makes you think that the starters need to play more in the preseason so they get in sync!

  21. pack13queens0 says: Sep 8, 2013 2:40 PM

    Terrible call. Johnson had a TD. Goodell must be instructing officials to give his beloved Vikings all the close calls.

  22. jerrykill4pres says: Sep 8, 2013 2:40 PM

    spicyjimbolaya says: Sep 8, 2013 2:35 PM

    Why is Joique Bell allowed to break the plane of the end one and Calvin Johnson is not? I don’t get it.

    You need to control possession on a catch and make a football move. He didn’t have possession of the football. Watch the replay, read the rules. Then comment. Your just making yourself sound like an ignorant meatpacker fan.

  23. skolvikes says: Sep 8, 2013 2:42 PM

    Why is Joique Bell allowed to break the plane of the end one and Calvin Johnson is not? I don’t get it.
    ———————————————————

    You don’t understand the difference between a reception and a carry?

  24. jerrykill4pres says: Sep 8, 2013 2:45 PM

    mrbigass says: Sep 8, 2013 1:57 PM

    It’s a ridiculous rule. I see guys stretch across the goal line with the ball in one hand and hit the turf and immediately lose the ball and they call that a touchdown.

    If you catch it in the endzone it has crossed the line and should be a TD period.

    If you’re on the field of play and lose the ball going to the ground it should be incomplete.

    The goalline should be different. Once it crosses the line it should count…..

    So your saying draft a qb who can throw the ball 80 yards in the air, and just have him bomb it across the goal line, and have a receiver get a fingertip on the ball, and it’s a TD?

    Fools! If your catching the ball it doesn’t matter if it’s in the field of play, or in the endzone, you have to demonstrate possession of the ball! Now show me where he actually had possession of the football!

  25. wearethesteelers says: Sep 8, 2013 2:49 PM

    To cross the plane and it be a touchdown, you have to have possession first.

  26. lionsfan2086 says: Sep 8, 2013 2:57 PM

    What I don’t get is that Calvin jumped up and caught it, landed on one foot and used that one foot to propel himself forward stretching out into the endzone. At the point of the catch, he was not “going to the ground” as the rule states. The only time he was going to the ground was caused by him leaping forward to try to get the TD.

  27. vikingfan1971 says: Sep 8, 2013 2:59 PM

    what ever pack13

  28. Great Caesar's Ghost says: Sep 8, 2013 4:07 PM

    How’s the Ponder to Jennings connection working out? Lighting it up as predicted by Vike fans?

  29. vikescry1 says: Sep 8, 2013 4:18 PM

    ponder looks like a magician…

  30. txraiderfan says: Sep 8, 2013 4:30 PM

    #1: Roger “God”dell is a D-Bag, and his idiot rules suck.
    #2: Fantasy football is stupid!

  31. thestrategyexpert says: Sep 8, 2013 5:47 PM

    It was indisputable the way the language of the rule is written, but that’s the problem is the rule should have different language.

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