Bears’ Rule

calvin johnson 9 13 Bears Rule

Calvin Johnson, by the letter of NFL rule, should still be waiting patiently in the end zone this morning — with the ball, after catching it cleanly there with two feet down, taking a couple steps and landing softly on his rear end.

Because apparently, he’s not allowed to then turn around and get up without worrying about the ball.  How long must he sit there before the score counts?

I get it:  no clear marking point between the end of the “act” of the catch and the initiation of the “act” of getting up.  I understand that the call was probably right.  But everyone knows that was a touchdown.

And everyone knows, more importantly, that the Bears almost lost at home to an NFL dreg that was using a bad backup quarterback for an entire half.

The biggest beneficiary of the TD controversy may be Lovie Smith, whose boneheaded decision not to kick on fourth and goal was worse than the Wannstedt “No Brainer” call against Green Bay.  He defended his idiocy by stating his trust in the defense, which actually argues against his call — since a coach who trusts his defense kicks the field goal and takes the lead.  And he had Zach Bowman alone against Johnson on the non-TD play, which is criminal.

Run blocking was bad, pass blocking ok when they ran two-man patterns, and the triumverate of Urlacher, Peppers and Briggs excelled.  Too many fumbles, too many penalties.

This was a lucky, lucky win.  Over the Lions.  At home.

Terry and I talk about it all this afternoon, with Zach Zaidman checking in from Lake Forest.  We may solicit some expert help in figuring out the potential league-rule impact of the disallowed score.

Bears 2010 is going to be a bumpy, wild ride, and this was a fitting way for it to begin.

  • Mike in davenport

    I really think that rule will be at least reworded next year.

    I love that the defense mostly looked great; how long has it been since we’ve seen that? Unfortunately, we saw the secondary exposed exactly the way we knew it would be.

    The best thing I saw on TV yesterday was Hampton’s apology for last weeks comments. I was hoping he’d bungle it and dig himself a deeper hole, but he did ok.

  • Chet's Inflated Ego

    Better to be lucky than good.


      welcome back
      to the same old place that you
      laugh about (is that right?)
      get ready for. . . . .
      Jeff suh MAHR zhaa!

      • Chet's Inflated Ego

        My heart sunk even more when I saw he had today’s start.
        Better he should be playing WR for The Beloved.

        I had to comment on The beloved’s first real game of the year.

  • BBOX

    I think “express elevator to hell, going down!” is a more apt metaphor for what this season’s going to be, but that’s just me.

  • meesohawnee

    Damn.. and for one more week Lovie Land is the happiest place on earth (rosie) .. So i guess now just crossing the plain should now be ruled no touchdown? Interpret the rule how you want. Its now a contradiction..

  • bigtime sucker

    while i am hesitant to disagree with anything captain obvious said in the above posted blog, i will take my time to say something somewhat well not controversial but definatly something i did not expect me to say.

    i feel better this morning. After watching the Cowboys and Redskins last night, i feel better. I almost feel as if these two teams practically mirror eachother. Both teams have multiple running backs, good young strong armed QB’s can put up ton’s of yards but can’t score, ok receivers, multiple talented tight ends, o lines that can’t block, pass rushing specialists good linebackers, questionable secondaries, good special teams. I think the homefield advantage will do it for the cowboys but probably not the absolute washout that was penciled in when the schedule came out. In fact, if alex barron is still the starting left tackle, Julius Peppers should be foaming at the mouth, and if they double him and single harris and leave more gaping holes for urlacher and briggs, we might even be able to suprise some people.

    • Chris in Scottsdale

      My thoughts exactly, BTS. My boss is a big-time Redskins fan, and we were debating as to which of our teams was luckier in winning yesterday.
      As bad as the Bears looked, the Cowboys o-line is genuinely bad as well. It could be very interesting next week.

      • Chet's Inflated Ego

        I think the ‘Skins were even luckier.
        I wonder who is a worse coach, Lovie or Wade???

      • bigtime sucker

        chet the skins were kinda luckier but that hold had to be called, it would be one thing if it were a slight jersey pull or if the defender was just slightly sideways or something, but barron’s arms were clear as day drapped along the defender’s neck, that’s a hold you would get fired not to call if your a ref


    Let’s say Cutler’s best throw is caught. Let’s say the “push” “over” the goal line gets re-examined. Let’s say Julius Peppers does not play bongos on Stafford’s head for an obvious 15 yarder. Let’s say the offense played more consistently (c’mon, not a far reach with the conditions and home field advantage, and perfect field position).
    Put these things together, and no one is talking about the Johnson play, because it would not have mattered.
    Of course, Lovie Smith must think we like our brunchtime Bears over-easy.
    I’d prefer an omlette loaded with ham, but I’m not wearing the chef’s touk.

    • bigtime sucker

      the bears were a bit undisciplined and that needs to be worked on as well. Urlacher’s hit was uncalled for, you’re dead on about the hit to the head, there is no point for that, the fumbles were maddening, not just because they were fumbles but we were moving the ball with so much ease, especially during the oleson fumble.

      if i am a lions fan, i want to know other than the bogus call, what calvin johnson did to tick off QB’s or Scott Linehan to prevent him from getting the ball all day long. dude, i would just be throwing jump balls all game long if i am lion’s OC. Just go up and get it calvin, and when they roll coverage, you have burelson and two TE’s that went embarrasingly underused. we can complain all we want about our goaline package, but we got the ball in the hands of our playmakers as often as we could, they have more playmakers than we do and they just ignored them. that’s bad football

      • bigtime sucker

        and stafford is just as guilty as hill so don’t give the stafford was hurt argument. that’s another area the bears got lovkie on, lions bad bad offense

  • merklesboner

    At least, it was better than the pre-season. And, no major injuries. Take the win and move on.

  • Joe in WI

    Being the first game of the year, it’s hard to say if the Lions are a little better than everyone thought they would be or are the Bears a little worse. The Bears were sloppy too many turnovers but only one a Cutler pick. Up and down the field but not a lot of scoring, O line looked weak and the secondary suspect. A week where it was better to be lucky than good.

  • david

    is wasn’t a catch because he didn’t pull in the ball and hold into it, he was about dropped it to go and celebrate. he didn’t complete the catching process.

    lance moore’s 2pt conversion catch in the Super Bowl was a catch because he wasn’t taken down by anyone. Calvin Johnson was taken down by the safety and he needed to hold into the ball. He tried catch it with 1 hand like randy moss.

    • AT3374

      He wasn’t taken down by a safety , Bowman had not chance to do anything against Calvin . Yes the rule is the rule , but that was a TD . A Lovie should be fired on principle for having Bowman one-on -one with Johnson anyways

  • david

    aromashodu and knox would be #3 or #2 receivers on good teams and DA was exposed when he should have caught that TD in the first drive. If that was Brandon Marshall in Denver, that’s a touchdown everytime

  • Chris in Scottsdale

    From December 26, 2004 @ the Booyah Website:

    Chad Hutchinson appeared to throw a 43-yard, game-tying touchdown pass to Bernard Berrian with 1:26 left, but an incomplete ruling on the field stood after a review despite replays that appeared to show it should’ve been overturned, giving Detroit a 19-13 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.”I was shocked,” said Detroit’s Jason Hanson, who made four field goals. “I thought for sure they were going to call it a touchdown, but I’m not going to complain.”Referee Terry McAulay announced on the field the ball was moving when Berrian hit the ground.The Bears were flabbergasted.”I caught the ball, got two feet in, hit the ground and that was it,” Berrian said. “It was a touchdown. There’s no doubt about it.”


      Thank you Chris, for validating my brain’s decision to file that snafu. I was going to say Curtis Conway, but I was sure of the rest of it.
      No one in the world could explain how that one wasn’t a touchdown. If I remember, Berrion was pushed out, and still had the ball. Caught the ball in fair territory, landed in fair territory. Lost the game. And Detroit carried that win to a. . . .
      NFL abyss of impossible dimensions.


    Yahoo Pick’em:
    No Way, the Vikings beat the Saints. I pick the Saints for 10 points. . . . . .
    Sure enough, Brett Favre looks like the guy in the old Levitra add, and the Saints score more.
    Come Sunday, I check my standings. I accidentally picked the Vikings. Teriffic.
    That, and no offensive effort from Atlanta or Dallas, and this week will be thrown out.
    P.S. Thanks, Indy. Thanks for nothing.

  • dallen

    Bearsiest. Win. Ever.

  • Brendan D

    Y’know, this game didn’t really prove much to me that I didn’t already know. The o-line was better than I expected, but they were still pretty bad. The d-line was much improved over last year, and the Urlacher/Briggs combination, when healthy, is beastly.

    But the one thing I didn’t expect was that Mike Martz, vaunted NFL coaching genius, would make calls that could cost the game. Do we know — was it Lovie’s call or Martz’s call to go for it on fourth down? Furthermore, it HAD to have been Martz’s call to pass on second down. Arrgh. The one thing I expected would be a positive was that at least Martz knows how to call the offense well; now, I’m not really sure WHAT to think.

  • Chi Orphan

    If he had waited merely a half a second on the ground, just laid there, then got up and made the same motion with the football, would have been called a touchdown? It was clear with our eyes his intent was to just get rid of the football to get up and celebrate, unfortunately, our eyes lied to us all. I say unfortunately because the win casts a small amount of positivity on a game that everyone would have called a horribly played game if it had gone the other way. I personally don’t think the end result should change the fact in anyone’s minds that the Bears played, mediocre at best, to a terrible football team without their star quarterback at home, which = a terribly played game by the Bears. Period.

  • mad as hell fan.....

    I don’t see it as lucky. I see it as the Lions were lucky to even be in the game considering the Bears dominated it in every way but was shooting themselves in the foot over and over again. I get it’s the “cool” thing to be as objective as possible which usually means going against the home team in people’s analysis, but the Bears won, they were the better team. There are a ton of crap rules, but this gets magnified because it happened at the end of the game. Who cares? The Bears aren’t that good to begin with, no one said they were going to dominate that game, and they really did other than the scoreboard. Check out the stats.

  • Jon, Montgomery

    first, i want to say, that was a touchdown, the lions got robbed, i don’t care if it’s in the rulebook or not, that’s BS that johnson has to hold on to the ball after getting two feet down & hitting the ground with his rear with possession, and he still has to hold on to the ball? in my opinion, he didn’t let go of the ball on accident, he put it on the turf to go celebrate, but it wasn’t meant to be, i know some detroit lions fans, do you know how much of a kick in the teeth that was after all they’ve been through with their football team the past couple years and their city? it was a shame to take that win away because of a stupid rule like that, besides, we know the real reason why it was taken away, the game was played at soldier field. but it’s shocking how the bears almost lost the game without that call anyway, you let the lions and their 2nd string QB give it to you like that? and what’s with the 4 straight hand-offs to forte after the briggs fumble? and then you choose not to take the lead on a FG and go for it with the same run play? oh, and another thing, forte was out-of-bounds on his 90-some-yard screen TD catch, the bears were handed this game.

    as for my team, we’re 1-0 thanks to the browns, josh freeman looks like he has potential to be a star, and i really like the young receivers around him, carnell looked like he kept running into brick walls, but our defense was pretty good, then again… it’s the browns, but hey… being 1-0 has alot different feeling than 0-1, trust me, especially because we hadn’t won a season opener since 05.

    here’s what i’m declaring this sox season was, the miracle run team of june to give baseball some meaning in chicago, then they give up the division lead and chased the twins closly long enough for fans like me to get to football season, i think even if they sweep minnesota, they won’t be able to make up the rest of the deficit.

    and week 1 is always a bad week for gambling, i’m 6-8 so far and only got 1 right out of my pick-5, i have san diego for my suvivor pool monday night, GO chargers GO.

    hopefully everybody’s doing alright, and nice to see you here chet. well that’s all i got.

    oh, except, i want to say you shouldn’t trade for carmelo if noah has to go, keep working at it until you can get luol out of town, and congrats to D.Rose for helping team USA win the gold.

  • Chris in Scottsdale

    Another thing that confirmed what I already suspected from watching tons of him in college: Ndamukong Suh is another guy that we’re going to simply hate playing against. Has there ever been a DT that came into the league and you just KNEW he was going to raise hell? My cognitive memory of college players doesn’t go back more than 10-15 years. His Big-12 Championship game last season was one of the best individual performances I’ve ever seen on any level.

    It’s like Brett Favre, John Randle and Barry Sanders in the 90’s. A division guy you despised, but only because you knew he was going to beat you… With the exception of the last 5 years, where Favre has lost that, and we all hate him win or lose simply because he’s clownshoes.

  • Lydell

    Happy Birthday, Sagie Sagehouse. 60 is the new…wait! It’s being subjected to review.

  • Bob in San Diego

    I’m so exited about this win, its not funny. Not because I liked the win – but it was how it was won. That way, the meatballs can all say “See, this is a good team, a team of destiny”, the Coach can smirk and say “See, this is a good team, Rex is our quarterback.” and the rest of the fans can say “See, this is a crap team.” Basically, the Perfect Storm of a great B&B show.

    If it was a simple Bears win/lose I wouldn’t care, but a badly played win on a questionable call – AWESOME!

    I say someone brings up Joe West/Jim Joyce on the end zone call by the 3:30.

    • Chet's Inflated Ego

      Excellent comments Bob.

      I would just add that we had a classic Whiskey Tango Foxtrot call from Lovie in not kicking…just a real gem from Lovie and his Braintrust…the first of many this year I am sure.

  • Rt

    the only way were going to won this division is by taking out other teams’ QB’s. the bears need more pressure upfront.

    Stafford is on that list now favre next.

  • Your Humble Narrator

    Does Zach’s definition of Greg Olsen’s “massive skill set” also include not fumbling the ball?

    And holy crap! The Bears can rely on screen-passes now!

    I thought Jim Miller saying they were the best screen passes in 6 years was hilarious. Um, Jim – you’re the QB who threw it to “the guy lying down.” Don’t try to deny your role in the long bad history of screen-pass incompetence


    Jeff Joniak on the WBBM 780/Chicago Bears Radio Network , along with FOX Sports’ PBP Thom Brennaman, immediately called “Touchdown” on the play that’s got NFL fans everywhere talking today, both locally & nationally. While it appeared as if the Lions’ Calvin Johnson caught the 25 yard score from backup Shaun Hill with :24 seconds left in regulation and appeared to have both feet in bounds, former NFL V.P. of Officiating Mike Pereira, now FOX’s newly named “Officiating Expert”, explained both on the broadcast and on afterward why it was incomplete. Pereira said that Johnson didn’t maintain possession when it looked as if he did. While Pereira said the officials got the call correct, I think the Bears are very fortunate to escape with a win I didn’t think they really deserved. After all, the Bears turned it over 4 times, and what in the hell was head coach Lovie Smith thinking when his Bears got nothing to show for it ON THE 1/2 YARD LINE?! You’ve got to be kidding me!

  • Larry

    Looks like we’re strolling down the garden path to fun bad.

  • bigtime sucker

    ALWAYS Looking for a new angle, any one notice more and more examples of why this grass field at solider’s field needs to be replaced with field turf? People slipping and sliding all over the place and this is week one

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