Bears, Lions talk about ruling that wiped out Detroit's win

It’s fitting that, on the first Sunday of the 2010 regular season, a rule that repeatedly plagued the 2009 regular season (and postseason) reared its head once again.

We’ll be saying a lot more about it in the first Monday 10-pack of the season. 

For now, we’ll defer to some of the key figures from Sunday’s Lions-Bears game.


89 responses to “Bears, Lions talk about ruling that wiped out Detroit's win

  1. Inconsistency between running back/QB tds crossing plane, and wide receivers, is F***ing ridiculous.
    Grab that AX and grind the hell out of it Florio.
    Should be the same everyone, whichever way the NFL wants the rule.

  2. Kudos to Schwartz! He should send the book on responsibility of the Head Coach to Chilly of the Viqueens. He understands that poor coaching loses games for you not poor officiating.

  3. Johnson god JIPPED! he was down with two feet. then his knee, then his elbow. then half a second after that the ball came loose.

  4. That call sucks and I feel horrible for the offense and how they made it down the field and did everything they could to win. As a Lions fan though I got to respect Schwartz saying that he’ll never blame an official for a loss and in the end they made their own mistakes. Side note: that D line is nasty.

  5. The officiating in the NFL has consistently and grossly become worse every damn year. I’ve been around long enough and I guarantee you that there were less bad/missed calls prior to the instant replay becoming implemented. Back in the 1970’s, Tom Landry, Bud Grant, Chuck Knoll and other great headcoaches pleaded for fulltime officials and stated back then that “bad officiating will continue to be the achilles heel of the NFL until they get fulltime officials”…..40 years later and the NFL still won’t listen. All kinds of rules to protect QB’s and sissy’s and now even the damn officials. I use to be a die-hard football fan but this crap is making the nfl look like all star wrestling… sport just entertainment. Now we have a dbl standard for receivers and RB’s….if a RB gets hit prior to crossing the plane of the goal line and fumbles in the endzone he is deemed to have crossed the plane of the goal and is awarded a TD however today C. Johnson catches it, both feet down, knees down and then his ass down and then it rules incomplete……asininie.

  6. It was the right call, but it’s an awful rule. This was a situation where the receiver clearly had possession and shouldn’t have to recover since he’s already broken the imaginary plane.

  7. I think that the call was bad, but Jim Schwartz is right, you can’t blame the refs for a loss and be a successful NFL coach. (Are you listening, Brad Childress?)
    At the same time, Calvin Johnson has been in the league for a couple of years. He has to know not to put the ball down to celebrate right after the reception if there is ANY chance that the booth will question the call. If he had just handed the ball to the ref, the Lions would have their first win of the season.

  8. Was the rules committee too busy with the tweaking of the umpire position to address this in the off season? How about a conference call? How about a referee meeting late on a friday after the 1st game of the season?

  9. Detroit gets “Joyced” again. FOUR steps in the end zone is not a TD but getting a pinky toe across the goal line and immediately fumbling is somehow 6 points?

  10. Although , what’s with this new fad of players flipping the ball before the play is copmpletely over. You see it every year , with runners flipping the ball before they even cross the goal line , looks like Calvin got the wrong end of an iffy call , but these players need to quit being so cocky.

  11. Can’t believe Schwartz…what a punk. The bottom line is that most NFL games are decided by 7 points or less. It almost ALWAYS comes down to a play or two. And if the officials blow a call like that, it is a big deal.
    The Lions coaching this game was terrible…especially on the offensive side of the ball.

  12. As a Bears fan, I too say that this was a robbery for the Lions and their fans. That call is BS and Lovie is a scumbag.

  13. Wasnt that the same ruling on Polamalus interception/non-interception against the Colts in the playoffs a few years back?

  14. Schwartz said what he “had” to say so he does not lose crediablity in the long run, however he knows he got screwed big time. I am waiting for Johnny Knox to do same thing and see what Lovie and Cutler say then! This is not the ’84 Bears and no one should fear them!

  15. I was rooting for the Bears but the call was flat-out wrong. The Bears have absolutely nothing to be proud about this game.

  16. Both feet were down, then his knee was down then his but was down, then he set the ball on the ground.
    Seems to me that by that logic, most of the touchdown catches I saw today should have been ruled incomplete after they spiked the ball.

  17. NFL is becoming just like the NBA…
    Ref towards the desired outcome.
    Manage games for the most profitable result.
    It’s why College sports is the last refuge.

  18. The way they got screwed is the same as if a player crossed the plane and spiked the ball and it was called a fumble. Terrible, just terrible…

  19. The competition committee needs to fix the asinine rules on what defines a catch. Any normal person would call that a catch.

  20. Absolutely ridiculous. Detroit got robbed. This time…. they have reason to be disgruntled. Refs routinely miss calls, etc.. however, this one was game deciding. Horrible…. I feel for Detroit fans…

  21. Joins the “Tuck Rule” as one of the worst cases of reffing costing the team the game. Appropriate call? Maybe. Appropriate rule? Ludicrous.

  22. The officials got the call right according to how the rule is written…that is what happens when lawyers right the rules. The rules for catches used to be simple, now there are 5 or 6 variables that have to be considered and end zone catches are somehow different. Make the rules simple.

  23. This is the same rule that bi the Raiders in the rear last year. it blows my mind that the rule wasn’t tweaked in the off season.
    I think Sharky said it best.
    “It was the right call, but it’s an awful rule. This was a situation where the receiver clearly had possession and shouldn’t have to recover since he’s already broken the imaginary plane.”

  24. This one is all on the NFL –
    No matter where you stand on the good-call-of-bad-rule or just-a-bad-call debate, it’s clear that no fans of the game wants to see that catch ruled incomplete. We as fans want to celebrate the moments when an athlete performs a minor miracle, not debate the legalese of “Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3, Item 1 of the NFL Rule Book”. The game is over, there’s no point in arguing the outcome anymore – just what should be done to fix the problem.

  25. DryBle says:
    September 12, 2010 6:29 PM
    The NFL can go F*** itself
    No. They are too busy f***ing the game! Absurd! There are so many rules now, every single play can be interpreted and ruled on a different way.
    So the nose of the football held by a runner only has to pierce the goal line for a microsecond and it’s a TD, but some guy catching the ball, landing both feet and then touching the ball to the endzone is ruled a no TD. Crap. Total crap!

  26. The only reason Detroit didn’t protest more is they know they’re not going anywhere. They still want draft picks, so a loss helps them get a better one. Perhaps the worst call I’ve ever seen.

  27. yeah , we shoulda won that game , yeah we lost our franchise QB for a month and a half , but look on the bright side…at least we got beat by the officiating instead of beating ourselves……

  28. Funny how refs can screw up every call that requires a high degree of subjectivity but can miss the easy ones too. There are dozens of players in the NFL that coaches have complained about for a variety of things for years, “Brady being protected by refs”, certain players who play dirty, woodson of the packers holding on every single pass play etc. and yet the officials turn a blind eye becuz of who they are. The Lions have been basement dwellers for years so it was easy for the refs to make this call, but had it been Manning and the colts, I can guarantee you it would’ve been a td.

  29. “He understands that poor coaching loses games for you not poor officiating.”
    You’re absolutely right, because if the call had been different, Lions wouldn’t have won. You’re smart dude.

  30. The fix was in. God, it’s so obvious and I don’t even care about these 2 teams. Disgusting. Hey Mr. Goodell, hope you won enough money on this game to endure the season-long hell you’re going to go thru over this. You’re pathetic Goodell. Pa frickin’ thetic.

  31. You can’t blame the refs for a loss? If it’s their fault that you lost, as it clearly is in this instance, why in the hell can’t you blame the refs for the loss?

  32. JaggedMark says:
    September 12, 2010 6:24 PM
    Inconsistency between running back/QB tds crossing plane, and wide receivers, is F***ing ridiculous.
    I agree with you 100%. It’s complete bullshit that the rules pertaining to crossing the plane vary by position. Completely absurd.

  33. Florio, how many hundreds of times have we seen a running back dive over the goal line, and then lose the ball, but he gets the TD because he had already broken the plane?
    Can we get on that issue as it compares to the wide receiver rules?

  34. I can’t wait until Gene Steratore gets fired for his bullshit call. NFL should have higher standards.
    BTW, highlights, GB, NE, etc., God forbid you cover some actual football.

  35. The whole thing stinks to high heaven.
    But take another look sport’s fans.
    Despite his amazing talents, Calvin Johnson LOST control of the ball.
    He didn’t flip it, leave it, anything like that.
    It slid out of his hand when it hit the ground.
    Watch the hand that the ball was in when he hits the ground. See that little “double clutch” as soon as it comes lose? He didn’t mean to leave the ball.
    I’m not saying it’s a good rule, but a lot of people have said that Johnson was hot-dogging it. He legitimately dropped it.

  36. its one of the few rules on offense that doesnt blatantly favor the offense/passing game. the WR should have to come up with the ball, no room for question. CJ should have protected the ball better.
    -biased bears fan

  37. NFL = No Fu**ing Logic.
    That call was a complete and utter joke, exactly what this league becomes more every year.

  38. The Referees did NOT get the call right according to the rule!
    The “Process” of the catch was OVER!
    Calvin was getting

  39. The Referees did NOT get the call right according to the rule!
    The “Process” of the catch was OVER!
    Calvin was getting up! The “Catch Process” was COMPLETE!
    The referees got it WRONG because they confused the “Process of the catch” with the “Process of standing up”.
    The process of the catch had been completed. To say the point in which Johnson let go of the ball was STILL part of the catching process is 100 percent inaccurate.
    The ref was wrong.

  40. Terrible rule.
    Possession with both feet in bounds and the ball in his control.
    Yet if a running back fumbles after crossing the line, they call it a touchdown. How much sense does that make?
    Detroit wuz robbed. That team can’t buy a break.

  41. Unreal. This kind of crap is getting ridiculous. The NFL is horrible. How effing long do you have to hold on to the ball after you catch it in the endzone? Do you have to take it to the side line? If this continues, they might as well make all spikes after a supposed score fumbles.

  42. lol first they getscrewed out of a perfect game in baseball nowthey get screwed out of a win tough break detroit

  43. As bad as the call was, I just wished it would have happened to Childress. The crying and complaining would have made a 1st grader look mature. Childress would get his panties in such a bunch that you could see the knots thru his favorite house dress.

  44. Good call, bad rule. This same rule bit the Bears about 6 years ago against the Lions. Berrian caught the game winning TD and while he was falling to the ground the ball moved in his hands. It was called a TD, but reversed on replay as they said he did not maintain control when he hit the ground even though the ball NEVER CAME OUT, just moved. The Bears were robbed of a victory then and now it was evened out. All is in balance again. And don’t think for a second CJ was trying to put the ball down to get up and celebrate. Tuck it away and forget about the show boating and you win that game. Lessen learned.

  45. At risk of being flagged for piling on, yes, it’s a dumbass rule.
    How come Forte didn’t have to get up with the football?????

  46. Hey lions fans thats the rule um im pretty sure calvin knows the rule you fans need to be asking your self why does he have to hold the ball in one hand when hes falling to the ground…..dont get me wrong i thinks its a TD and its a horrible rule but its the RULE and what cutler said is so true the NFL officals come to EVERY teams training camps and explain the rule!!!!

  47. Much respect for Jim Schwartz. You know he is fuming, but as a man, and a good coach or soon to be one, he takes the loss and accepts the blame, unlike that bed wetter in Minnesota. Props to you coach Schwartz. Your team got screwed, and I had the Bears defense in my fantasy league. I’d rather you had gotten the win.

  48. Awful call. Calvin was indeed in the process, of getting up to celebrate the previous process which had just ended which was catching what likely would have been the winning touchdown in the game. Both feet in, body on the ground, left hand out of bounds, then bouncing up to celebrate….. Next time Calvin I guess you should clutch the ball and curl up into the fetal position for 60 seconds. Thanks to all Chicago’s mistakes at least we had a chance to win it at the end.

  49. I am Bears fan and that was a catch. He had his feet in bounds, and touched the ground. He didn’t sell the catch, that was the problem.
    Luckily for the Bears, we caught a break. I’ll say this, the Bears are a bad team. They practically gave this game away, but couldn’t. This was one of the five or six wins the team will have all season. So, we might as well enjoy it.

  50. “As bad as the call was, I just wished it would have happened to Childress. The crying and complaining would have made a 1st grader look mature. Childress would get his panties in such a bunch that you could see the knots thru his favorite house dress.”
    Well, sorry Jim, you’ll have to imagine Childress and his undies on your own time…

  51. As a Raider fan, I saw Louis Murphy get hosed the EXACT same way on opening weekend last year.
    As soon as I saw it, I knew it wasn’t a TD. Just hang on to the ball next time. Why is it so hard to secure the ball? I agree. NO TD. No crying about it. Murphy was a rookie, so you can kinda understand. But Megatron KNOWS the rule. He dropped the ball. Period.

  52. Die hard Chicago Bears fan here, and I do believe it was a catch. Good call on an bad rule. BUT-Had he not been worried about getting up to celebrate, they would have won the game. I don’t want my team to win games like that though.

  53. Good call.. Bad rule? Not really all he had to do was stand up without dropping the ball that’s a rookie mistake he made. If they don’t follow the rule alot of ppl that catch it in the endzone n lose it when they roll over would say they thought the catch was over. Like it or not it’s the right call the rules are the rules they’re not perfect but oh well get over it we were suppose to blow lions out anyway we clearly outplayed them it shouldn’t even have been close. Every1 rootin for lions to beat us I’m lmao at y’all rite now. Get over it tell Calvin don’t make stupid mistakes cus that’s all it was a dumb mistake that cost y’all the game if we wasn’t beatin ourselves y’all wouldn’t even have been close so consider y’all self lucky for even havin the chance for that play. Hahahahaha we 1-0 n I kno every1 hates it cus y’all had lions beatin us but oh well week 1 over now on to week 2

  54. Good for the officials. Players need to quit hotdogging it when they do something they are supposed to do. Couldn’t he wait 5 seconds to act a fool?

  55. It’s the correct call but the rule is bull. However it’s true, the Lions were lucky to have even been in that position in th end. The Bears ran all over the field on them, their saving grace is that the Bears keep shooting themselves in the foot. That’s as good as this Lions team can play and they still lost to a medicocre team with 4 turnovers..

  56. 1) The play is not dead just because he was down and it occured in the end zone. There is no “breaking” of the imaginary plane because that only occurs if you have possession going into the end zone – not making a catch in the end zone. The only “breaking of the plane” occurred when Hill threw the ball past the goal line.
    2) He did not spike the ball. Johnson lost control of the ball as he fell to the ground and used his hands to brace himself from the impact. Don’t try to claim anything otherwise. Watch the play, his hands and the ball all came down in the same motion as he himself falling to the ground and rolling out of the impact.
    3) Whether you like the rule or not, the ref called it correctly. Stop this needless ref bashing because this one is NOT the fault of the referees. The rule states that you have to maintain possession of the ball all the way to the ground if you are still in the act of catching the ball; this is true whether you’re on the sideline, the endzone, or right on the logo of the 50 yard line. Two feet + possession != catch just because it occurs in the end zone, just like that doesn’t make it a catch on the sidelines or in the middle of the field. The rule should remain that way.
    4) Follow-up to 3, the ref has no choice but to make the call by the book. You do not want referees deciding what should be a touchdown and what shouldn’t based completely on their own interpretation of what’s “right” instead of strictly what the rules say. Like a couple years ago they could’ve said, “Oh, DeSean Jackson was close enough, so even though he dropped the ball before the goal line it should still be a touchdown because he basically had it anyway.” The NFL rules clearly state that while making the catch if the receiver loses possession as he hits the ground – endzone or no – then the pass is incomplete.
    I for one think the rule should stand as is. There is absolutely nothing wrong with holding paid, professional, NFL receivers to a higher standard. You think you made the catch? Prove it. The fact that we can even debate whether or not he held onto the ball all the way down (ground knocked the ball loose vs. conscious spike in celebration) shows that this is entirely on CJ. Hold onto the ball all the way through, get up, and spike the ball yourself. Lift your hand with the ball, then slam it down; don’t lose it as you’re still falling. Erase all doubt from the ref’s mind; make it impossible for him to call it anything but a touchdown.
    If you want to see an example of how to do it right, just watch the Forte play from just a few moments before. He catches the ball, lands on his back, rolls, and lifts the ball to the show the ref he still had it – PROVING he held possession. Furthermore, in that same replay, watch the ref on the goalline. He is standing there, watching Forte for several seconds and making certain that he held onto the ball throughout the entire process before he lifts his arms signaling a touchdown.
    Had CJ done that, I guarantee you that the call would’ve remained a touchdown. However, he did not make a clear demonstration, so it’s up to the ref to determine if he held onto possession and spiked the ball, or if he just lost the ball because of the impact with the ground. There is exactly one person to blame for this controversy: Johnson himself.
    This was no robbery, it was simply a case of a player getting too excited too early and a ref enforcing the rules properly.

  57. I think we all know that SHOULD have been a TD. HOwever, it was NOT a blown call by the Refs. They simply enforced a BS NFL rule about catches in the end zone that has plagued us for years.
    The same thing happened to Greg Jennings when we played GB at home last year. It is an awful rule, but as a receiver Calvin Johnson is supposed to know it. Referees come to each training camp to explain it. That’s what our coaches and his coaches said about the play, and I’m sure he’d admit it himself.
    One of two things happened at the end of that play
    1) He dropped that ball at the end of the catch and the rule worked the way it was supposed to. (unlikely)
    2) He got up to celebrate and made the mental error of releasing the football in the process. Like DeSean Jackson dropping the ball at the 1 yard line last season, Calvin Johnson cost his team the game.
    PFT, you make a good point about the “2nd act” move of rolling over and putting the ball down, but caught the ball while falling, the momentum of his fall rolled him over, and he ended the rolling motion with the football hitting the ground which is probably why it squirted out.
    I mean, why not just pull the ball into your arms and cradle it like you do for every other TD catch? Either because he didn’t have complete control or didn’t know the rule.
    One fluid motion that should be called a catch but isn’t according to the rule. One stupid move by an elite receiver who is paid millions to know better.
    BS rule, though. How many times will we have this argument before it changes?

  58. 1. Johnson should’ve never been in 1:1 coverage with the game on the line–more genius from the Bears coaches.
    2. Johnson did push off on that play
    3. Everyone is analyzing this play in slo-mo; in REAL TIME, his loss of control at the end is more evident
    4. Regardless of what happened prior, Johnson lost control of the ball when it hit the ground (he didn’t drop it INTENTIONALLY, it got knocked out by the ground as his momentum swung his hand and the ball into it), and therefore he did not complete the catch–INCOMPLETE.
    The WR’s body is mostly irrelevant (the feet/knees/butt hitting the ground)–it’s the demonstration of CONTROL OF THE BALL that counts, all the way through to the end.
    5. Bears had crappy o-line play, and crappy coaching (only putting 1:1 coverage on CJ with the game on the line?)–combined, those factors prohibited them from capitalizing on dominant field position and scoring.
    But they otherwise moved the ball well and dominated on defense (Briggs’ play before the goal-line goof was a thing of beauty, as was Peppers’ strip-sack).
    Much respect for the scrappy Lions (who have also been cheated out of victories over the Biqueens, too)–but Schwartz is right: dwelling on this won’t do the team or franchise any good.
    Finally, willl everyone who keeps comparing a runner’s possession in the endzone to a WR’s please just STFU?
    You’re comparing oranges & orangutangs here:
    A runner has possession PRIOR to breaking the plane of the endzone (so the issue of control/possession is already decided);
    A WR must establish and KEEP possession (that means PROVING/demonstrating it through to the end, even after hitting the ground).

  59. That was a catch. Anyone who tries to justify the application of ANY rule to say that wasn’t a catch is a friggin’ idiot!!

  60. Complete control, both feet down, then knee then elbow – still full control.
    Chicago got beat by Detroit but the NFL, taking after the NBA, tries to manage the outcome.
    And does.
    How embarrassing.

  61. kendog says:
    September 13, 2010 4:58 PM
    That was a catch. Anyone who tries to justify the application of ANY rule to say that wasn’t a catch is a friggin’ idiot!!
    In our back yards, of course its a catch. But isnt it a little arrogan call people who actually understands the NFL rule an idiot? I mean, you are insulting people’s intelligence for knowing more than you.
    I haven’t read anyone defending the rule, just half the people don’t understand it and some try to explain it. This call happened TONS of times in `09, but now its news to people? Ridiculous.
    DonnyBoy says:
    September 13, 2010 9:46 PM
    Complete control, both feet down, then knee then elbow – still full control.
    That is correct… so far. After the elbow came the hand with the football in it followed(still full control), football makes contact with ground, football is dropped(receiver loses control, intentionally or not), receiver stands up without football, BS rule is applied.
    Finally, Dewey, I have no idea why the Bears chose to blitz Urlacher and DJ Moore, but when they did Major Wright moved up to play the slot and Danielle Manning was supposed to help Calvin Johnson. Problem is the Lions picked up both blitzes and gave Hill time, meanwhile Scheffler had enough time to break away from Briggs. At that point, Manning raced up to cover Scheffler and Bowman was isolated with Calvin Johnson.
    If Manning doesn’t make that move, Scheffler is alone with a open lane 10 yards from the end zone. The double blitz was the mistake, but a lot of us were criticizing their prevent D that allowed the Lions to get that far in the first place. Bad mark for the defense for sure, but at least they played well for most of the game.

  62. Look people this is not a good call on a bad rule. The rule is extremely vague and totally subjective. The language used is “the entire process”. What the HELL is “the process”? No definition is offered and no further clarity is given. It is unbelievable to me that no one on the competition comittee pointed out that “the process” has no meaning in the way the rule is written when it was written. If we use common sense (which, God forbid we do) the process would mean clear possesion of the ball with legal qualifications for posession and in the field of play (control of the ball and two feet or an elbow, butt, etc….) THEN maintaining that posession after initial contact with the ground. If not every DB in the league should jump on any receiver going to the ground in an effort to strip the ball free from a receiver “going to the ground” because if that ball comes out prior to the “process” being complete it (according to the way the rule is written) must be ruled incomplete.
    If the Lance Moore goal line catch in the Superbowl last year is a TD then Calvin Johnsons catch must also be a TD.

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