Black and Blue all over: The call that didn't come
CHICAGO -- We'll be departing the second city later today. We're guessing Ashton and Demi won't be on our flight -- but sometimes, that's just how it goes.
Which is an appropriate metaphor Monday morning for the Minnesota Vikings, who are lamenting a second-quarter decision by referee Pete Morelli that paved the way for a Tennessee touchdown in a 30-17 Titans win.
Coach Brad Childress burned two timeouts and one challenge while trying to persuade Morelli to reverse a spot call on a fourth-down pass to Titans receiver Justin Gage. Replays suggested Gage was tackled short of the first down, but Morelli allowed a first-down ruling to stand. One play later, Tennessee tailback LenDale White scored from a yard out.
Childress plans to speak Monday with Mike Perreira, the NFL's vice president of officiating. Childress called the ruling "damn disappointing" and added:
"His progress was stopped. From what I was seeing, the progress didn't make the line. I got something about 'We don't have that many cameras at the game.' Clearly that wasn't a first down, and you are not going to convince me that was a first down."
There were plenty of reasons why the Vikings lost Sunday. That call was one of them, but this wasn't an Ed Hochuli moment. The Vikings could have overcome it.
Taking a jaunt around the NFC North at the season's quarter pole:
- Childress benched middle linebacker E.J. Henderson, also a team captain, for the first series. The Star Tribune reported Henderson was late for a meeting Friday morning. Henderson also suffered a foot injury that is being re-evaluated Monday.
- Quarterback Gus Frerotte needed two stitches to close a gash on his left hand, but he was more upset about a hit below the belt from Tennessee end Kyle Vanden Bosch. "That just isn't called for in this game," Frerotte said.
- Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press quotes a country song to express the presumed feeling of Vikings owner Zygi Wilf, whose team is 1-3 despite an expensive offseason upgrade: "I gave her a ring, she gave me the finger."
- Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said he was in "intense pain" after throwing a 48-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings. Rodgers is having his throwing shoulder examined Monday.
- Packers cornerback Charles Woodson is starting to feel the effects of playing three games on a fractured toe. "I'm struggling right now," Woodson said, according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
- The Packers managed only 28 rushing yards against Tampa Bay's defense. "You can't live like that," offensive coordinator Joe Philbin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune on Kyle Orton after Sunday night's 24-20 victory over Philadelphia: "That, ladies and gentlemen,announced the end of Orton as an NFL game manager."
- The Bears rotated linebacker Nick Roach with starter Hunter Hillenmeyer, reports Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Rick Morrissey of the Tribune suggests a new slogan for the Bears: "You Never Know."