If you saw this weekend's Lions game, you saw some good, some bad, and a terrible call. That play was a touchdown, and you will never make me believe that it wasn't a touchdown. We got Oakland Raider-ed with a call that has not been made with any consistency and that was a shady interpretation of said rule. Process will be our tuck rule forever. Process of the catch? I think they messed up the call in the Super Bowl too. It is just hard to watch.
A player can run to the end zone, then jump as high as he can, then hold the ball over the goal line, then get pushed and drop the ball, but still get a touchdown for his effort. But when a player catches the football cleanly, gets two feet, his two knees, his butt and his arm down then gets up and after all that then drops the ball, that is not a TD. When a player catches a ball then lands in the end zone, the play is dead and he scores, he could fumble the ball or spike it or sign it and give it to a kid. A running back can run to the goal line, get hit, and muscle over the line and the play stops instantly. He can drop the ball, fall backwards, get the ball stripped, etc. It doesn't matter. Of course, you have to remember, this was the Lions meaning the NFL's D-team refs were working the game.
I may be slowly but surely turning into the old mean blogger who complains all the time. But I just can't let the terrible refs and Boise States of the world get away with their transgressions.
Other than the terrible call, there was a game being played. A game where the Mr. Franchise Matthew Stafford was hurt. Great. It is a throwing shoulder injury, which was not the shoulder he hurt last season, but it is the more serious shoulder of the two. If he goes down for more than a few games (looking like 2-6 games), the Lions will be hurting bad. Hill just couldn't move the ball, and unless he really takes command of the offense, the Lions will have to find a way to win elsewhere. Best looked pretty impressive, as the O-line was getting zero push and he was on his own. He made some nice plays as a receiver too. Calvin Johnson pulled a typical Megatron and didn't show up until late and made some OK plays. Either the Lions need to force feed him the ball, or he has to make more opportunities for himself. I'm certain its the former. The O-line played poorly and there were Bears in the backfield on every play. That led to poor play by the entire offense that couldn't find any rhythm in the second half. If the Lions played better on the line, the entire offense will open up and show its talent. If not, expect more of the same you saw against the Bears.
On the defensive side, Vanden Bosch played like the workhorse we all have been waiting for. He showed relentless pursuit, chasing down wide receivers and racking up 10 (at least) tackles playing like a leader of a defense should. Suh was a beast, Delmas is a missile, and our secondary looked improved. Now it has to build on this and be consistent. The linebackers need to make more plays, and with Levy in the lineup I hope we can see more production.
Bottom line, the defense played better than I thought and when they are healthy, they could be very improved. Shaun Hill needs to start to pick stuff up quick, or the Lions won't win any games without Stafford. Stafford could be out anywhere from 2-6 weeks, so it could be until late October till we see him again. Calvin Johnson, and the rest of the team, needs to take this tough loss as motivation to work through it and come out better for it. I am confident, for the first time in years, that the leadership is in place that they will do that. It is unfortunate that the next few weeks have tough games, but the Lions need to rise to the occasion and play hard and tough like this week. Sometimes you can make up for a lack of talent with toughness and grit. Only sometimes though. We won't win a division that way.
It should not have come down to that controversial play. The Lions gave up ten points before halftime and couldn't do anything on offense in the second half. But the Lions played well enough to win, and hopefully those efforts become common this season.