Welcome back, Calvin Johnson rule. We’d missed you.
The bizarre, convoluted rule regarding what is and isn’t a catch in the NFL reared its head at a key moment of Sunday’s playoff game between the Cowboys and Packers. With Dallas facing fourth and two from the Green Bay 33, quarterback Tony Romo fired the ball deep down the left sideline to receiver Dez Bryant.
Bryant caught the ball, but he was falling to the ground while doing so. After taking multiple steps, he landed on the turf — and the ball hit the ground.
Ruled a catch on the field, the Packers challenged. And referee Gene Steratore reversed the ruling on the field, explaining that Bryant failed to maintain possession through the act of going to the ground.
At one point in the past several years, the rule regarding a catch made while a player is going to the ground created confusion and inconsistent calls. It returned on Sunday with a vengeance, keeping the Cowboys from securing a first and goal at the one in a five-point game and instead giving possession to the Packers after the failed fourth-down conversion.