Sunday, September 8, 2013
Johnson and the complete-the-process rule
By Michael Rothstein
DETROIT -- Calvin Johnson answered the same questions after the first game of the 2010 season, and when it happened to him again Sunday, when another touchdown was taken away in a season opener for the Lions receiver, he once again thought he was in.
Johnson had a touchdown nullified by the complete-the-process rule in the 2010 opener, turning a potential Detroit win into a loss. On Sunday, the results of the lost touchdown were not quite as dire as the Lions beat Minnesota 34-24.
“Yeah, they got me again,” Johnson said. "I’m going to have like four different pictures in there.”
Johnson thought he had scored and said he felt he caught the ball, had his feet touch down and then dove into the end zone. Officials disagreed, reviewing the play and saying he didn’t complete the process of the catch.
After the game, referee John Parry said whether or not Johnson had already crossed into the end zone did not matter in this case and that he saw the ball move without Johnson having control.
“A player that is going to the ground on his own, which Calvin was on that play, must possess and maintain the possession of the football throughout the entire act of the catch,” Parry said. “The catch did not end in that scenario. When the ball hit the end zone, the ball moved. It rotated. So he didn’t maintain possession of the football.”
It was one of many wacky things which happened in the first half for the Lions. Johnson also just missed on another touchdown when his second foot barely touched down out of bounds. Sam Martin bobbled a snap, costing the Lions a field goal. A DeAndre Levy interception return for a touchdown was brought back by a Ndamukong Suh low block penalty. Louis Delmas received a taunting penalty. Joique Bell almost had a touchdown wiped out because the ball popped loose as he dived over the pile, although he crossed the goal line first.
Brandon Pettigrew had a ball cleanly stripped. And on the Vikings’ first offensive play, Adrian Peterson scored a 78-yard touchdown.
Lions coach Jim Schwartz, though, liked the way his team responded in the second half when it scored touchdowns on its first two possessions.
“We had setbacks that we put on ourselves,” Johnson said. “That’s all it was.”
The most noticeable of all, though, was Johnson’s inability to complete the process. Again.
“Typical. It would happen to him,” quarterback Matthew Stafford said. “He had a great game. If you keep those two catches, the guy comes away with two touchdowns and another 50 yards.
“The guy, he’s the best in the game.”