NFL, Referee Stand by Call Against Lions on Calvin Johnson Non-Touchdown
But another official came in and overruled the first official, saying Johnson didn't just put the ball down -- he dropped it and failed to maintain possession, and therefore it was an incomplete pass.
The Lions, obviously, were not pleased. But the NFL and the referee insist that they made the right call.
Referee Gene Steratore said after the game, "He has got to maintain possession of the ball throughout the entire process of the catch." And the league office has already weighed in and said Steratore got it right.
Lions coach Jim Schwartz declined to rip the league or the officials after the game, and that's a classy move. But the rule that says what appeared to be a game-winning touchdown seems flawed: Johnson caught the ball and set it down. How is that not a catch? And why did the official who seemed to have the best view of the play rule it complete?
Even if the referee made the right interpretation of an odd rule, the season has opened with Lions fans feeling like they got ripped off.