FanDuel - WFBC

November 15, 2010

Texans Touchdown Revives Calvin Johnson Controversy: Although it was overshadowed by another catch later, The Houston Texans scored a late game-tying touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday that was similar to Calvin Johnson's non-catch for the Detroit Lions earlier this season. After Kevin Walter went to the ground on an 18-yard catch in the end zone, he lost the ball as he lifted it. Officials ruled that lifting the ball was a second move and awarded the touchdown.

posted by rcade to football at 03:00 PM - 11 comments

It's not the same.

I knew people would try to link those catches, but when you view them it is MUCH more obvious that Walter's ball was caught, cradled, then he made contact with the ground. The second move was the rolling over and presenting it to the ref (as a "See, I have it!" display). That's when it comes out. I was stunned by the on-field official ruling it no catch, and glad the replay showed how obvious it was a catch.

I think Johnson's non-catch was a bad call, but it wasn't as obvious a catch as this one.

posted by grum@work at 03:03 PM on November 15

At my age, I would love to have this problem. I can't generate enough lift to be credited with having made a second move.

posted by beaverboard at 03:27 PM on November 15

These rules on what is and is not a catch are bogus (meaning that I believe there is little consistency). Case in point: Dez Bryant's touchdown in Cowboy v. Giant game. Ruled an incompletion on field. In replays looked like nose of ball might have touched ground when he hit, admittedly not clear but expected that review would come back inconclusive and therefore call on field would stand. Instead the explanation was that he possessed it in the air and maintained possession after hitting ground. If you can possess it in the air, then why does it matter if the ball ever touches the ground when you come down?

posted by graymatters at 03:54 PM on November 15

I not only think these two catches (Walter and Johnson) very identical, but given the way reviews are handled, I see no way that Walter's should have been ruled a TD and Johnson's not.

Given that Johnson's was ruled a TD on the field, I think he clearly caught the ball, went to the ground, and only when starting to run out of the end zone left it on the ground. There's not a second of hesitation on his part, he felt he scored, no need to persuade the refs. Walter rolls over and then loses the ball...to say he was presenting it to the ref is a bit of stretch as the ref was behind him. Given that his was ruled incomplete on the field, I just don't see that much difference that both calls were overturned on replay. To me, either they're both catches or both incomplete.

to graymatters' point, saw that as well, that's usually overturned when part of the ball clearly strikes the ground, even if his hands are in contact with the ball. There was also the bogus holding penalty on the Giants TD pass late in the game...maybe the league wanted a good start to the Garrett era in Dallas.

posted by dviking at 04:09 PM on November 15

I don't see how one is a touchdown and one isn't. They both were bang-bang. They both involved receivers who lost the ball after an initial catching move appeared to secure it pretty well. Did anyone watching the Jacksonville/Houston game think they knew what the refs would call on review? The rule is arbitrary because the second-move distinction is so vague. If holding the ball up is a second move, why isn't putting the ball on the ground intentionally as you're getting up?

posted by rcade at 04:22 PM on November 15

Did anyone watching the Jacksonville/Houston game think they knew what the refs would call on review?

Yes.

Given that Johnson's was ruled a TD on the field, I think he clearly caught the ball, went to the ground, and only when starting to run out of the end zone left it on the ground.

Actually, if you watch, he never lifts the ball off the ground cleanly after it makes contact with the turf.

NOTE: I believe Johnson got screwed on his call. Please don't think I'm saying it was the right call.

However, I do believe that the call on Walter's touchdown was much easier to make as he had control of the ball when he landed on his back, and he then lifted the ball into the air with both hands (where it was then (I assume) kicked out by the swinging leg of the defender).

Johnson's was him spinning around, landing on the ground with his leg/ass and his arm STILL MOVING, strikes the ground with the ball, where he loses control of it.

If the refs are looking for an example of "second-move", Walter's is much more obvious than Johnson's.

posted by grum@work at 08:32 PM on November 15

From my perspective it's all about the initial call....catch for Johnson, not for Walter... that makes all the difference due to how they normally rule on replays.

I don't see anybody kicking the ball out of Walter's hands, which is why I don't think he has any longer than Johnson did. To me, Johnson doesn't so much lose control as he just leaves the ball on the ground as he's already running to the end of the stadium to celebrate.

Would love to see some sort of replay policy where the person in the booth does not know how the play was ruled on the field. They just call it as they see it. Know that's not going to happen but I can wish.

posted by dviking at 12:36 AM on November 16

If the ball crosses the goalline in control of the ball carrier, who is in bounds, it is a touchdown. What happens after that point in time should be immaterial. Why would it be different for receivers than for backs? I don't care for the recent "complete the move" rulings.

posted by bobfoot at 12:57 AM on November 16

I don't see anybody kicking the ball out of Walter's hands,

The defender's left leg bumps Walter's left arm at 16 seconds of the linked/posted video.

posted by grum@work at 08:24 AM on November 16

Why would it be different for receivers than for backs?

Because running backs start with the ball in control before they cross the goal line. Receivers never have a chance to control the ball before they touch it in the end zone, and are often in the air when they do touch it.

If you don't have a "complete the move" rule, then you could end up with one of two things:

- touchdown rulings where the receiver catches the ball in the air and lands out of bounds (even though he had control of the ball in the end zone)
- touchdown rulings where the receiver catches the ball with his fingertips while diving, but then fumbles/drops it when he strikes the ground

In either case, no one really believes that those should be touchdowns, do they?

posted by grum@work at 08:27 AM on November 16

If the receiver catches the ball in the end zone and touches both feet down, if he controls the ball when he lands out of bounds it's a touchdown now.

I'm OK with the complete the move rule if they start interpreting it more liberally in favor of the receiver. If it looks in any way like the receiver was starting a second move, it should be a touchdown. I think a strong majority of fans who saw that Calvin Johnson play at the time would have considered it a touchdown.

posted by rcade at 08:59 AM on November 16

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.