By Chris Emma–
DETROIT (CBS) — It seemed the Bears had made a big play just before halftime Sunday against the Lions when linebacker Jonathan Anderson caught a deflected pass in the end zone for what was initially ruled an interception. Then, it got confusing.
An official review overturned the call, awarding the Lions’ Golden Tate a touchdown, much to the dismay of the Bears, who didn’t believe he ever had control of the ball.
The NFL explained the decision soon after.
“(Golden Tate) had demonstrated possession (and) had become a runner,” NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said on NFL Network. “Once the ball breaks the plane of the goal line in possession of a runner, it is a touchdown and the play is over at that point.”
Tweeted former NFL vice president of officiating Mike Pereira: “That’s incredible to me … but that’s New York’s judgement that he had become a runner. I disagree with the call.”
The Lions took a 21-13 lead into halftime after the ruling. Bears personnel on the sideline expressed outrage, to no avail. In a game where every point proved to be crucial, Detroit earned a 37-34 overtime victory over Chicago. That strange play was among the many moments with which to reflect from a wild game.
In a somber postgame scene, the Bears looked back on the interception that wasn’t.
“We’re not allowed to talk about officials,” said Bears coach John Fox, whose explanation from referee Walt Coleman pointed to how Tate was upright upon receiving the football.
Added Bears linebacker Sam Acho: “I can’t call that one; I’m not a ref.”
Quarterback Jay Cutler declined to touch on officiating, stating the NFL’s policy for fines. Several calls from the referees led to questions.
With under a minute left in the game, Bears linebacker Pernell McPhee was called for a roughing the passer on a play in which it appeared he was pushed into Lions quarter Matt Stafford by a lineman. On the 57-yard catch by Calvin Johnson to set up the game-winning field goal for the Lions in overtime, it appeared Bears edge rusher Willie Young was held in front of Coleman’s eyes.
But at the end of the day, the Bears had plenty of chances to win the game and couldn’t pull it off.
“The game was basically given to us,” Bears running back Matt Forte said. “We had a lot of opportunities to win that game.”
Follow Chris on Twitter @CEmma670.