Lions fans stewed over the week one loss in Chicago, not because they lost but the way it went down. Shaun Hill and Calvin Johnson had seemingly done everything they needed to do to pull off an improbable come from behind road victory only to have it ripped away from them when the officials determined that Johnson did not “complete the process“. At the time it seemed that only the Lions could be so unfortunate to receive such a verdict. That was the case, until yesterday.
With the Dolphins clinging to a late one point lead, the Steelers found themselves deep in Miami territory. Ben Roethlisberger took a called quarterback run towards the goal line only to lose the ball after being hit on the elbow about a foot short of the end zone. However, the play was initially ruled a touchdown. Video evidence confirmed the fumble but did not definitively show who recovered the ball. By rule, the Steelers retained possession and kicked what turned out to be the game winning field goal.
Ironically, it was former Lion Ikaika Alama-Francis that eventually emerged with the ball but it was all for naught. His recovery was not initially recognized because the play was dead based on the original call on the field. The ball could have been awarded to the Dolphins following video replay but the ball disappeared from view before it was apparent who was in possession.
Patrik Nohe at phinphanatic.com offers a take on the situation that is eerily similar to Calvin Johnson’s no-touchdown in Chicago:
Now sure, the call was awful. Worse than awful. And don’t feed me the line about the officials got the call right. No they didn’t. They interpreted the rule correctly. But they got the play wrong on the field and in so doing, managed to taint the replay, making it inconclusive by virtue of their early whistles. They didn’t get the call right, they blew it so badly that they had to resort to a rigid interpretation of the NFL rule book and thus took the game out of the hands of the players.
In case you missed the play live, here it is: