Why Kevin Walter's catch was a catch

November, 15, 2010
11/15/10
7:33
AM ET
Look at the incompletion/touchdown catch decision officials in the Texans-Jaguars game were making regarding Kevin Walter in the fourth quarter and it’s easy to judge it as the same as the controversial Calvin Johnson and Arian Foster non-catches earlier this season.

What was called an incompletion on the field was reversed to an 18-yard touchdown on review.

That left former Tampa Bay and Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy saying this on NBC’s “Football Night in America:”
“We’ve been told all year that if you go to the ground, you have to maintain the catch all the way. Kevin Walter doesn’t maintain the catch all the way. He has it for a long time, but not all the way. Last week was the same thing. His teammate, Arian Foster, has the ball for a long time, but doesn’t maintain it all the way. No touchdown. Calvin Johnson has the ball for a long time, but doesn’t maintain it all the way. All year we’ve said these are not touchdowns. Now, all of a sudden, there is an exception. Well, if you hold it long enough, it’s a touchdown. I’ve coached 30 years. I don’t know what a touchdown is anymore.”

But the NFL’s former director officials Mike Pereira said in this column and video for Fox that he thought it was called the right way.
“No question this should be a touchdown. The action where Walter lost the ball was clearly after he completed the catch, and he actually seemed to be showing the officials he had maintained control.”

“The referee, Gene Steratore, who was the referee in the Lions-Bears matchup in Week 1 for the controversial Calvin Johnson play at the end of the game, made the right call again. This time there was clearly a second act, which to me, is reminiscent of a second baseman losing the ball while taking the ball out of his glove in an attempt to turn a double play. So the Texans win this challenge, but ended up losing the game on a wild Hail Mary by the Jaguars on the last play of the game.”

I understand people want it to be clear and obvious every time. But it just isn’t, and Pereira’s explanation and differentiation works for me. How about you?

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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