Saturday, September 23, 2006

Appearances can be deceiving

Well, last weekend, I was still out testing cars in Arizona, so I missed out on seeing the carnage. For once, I'm glad I didn't see the game until Tuesday afternoon when I got home from my trip and cranked up the TiVo. I got a rundown of the game Sunday night from my brother who was at the game in Chicago. It went like this:

- HUGE number of penalties - and they were very one sided.

- Several calls of either fumbles or completions / incompletions were very suspect.

- Bears fans in the stands are clueless jerks.

After hearing that this was the same officiating crew that did the Cowboys and Ravens games for us last year, I'm not surprised. That crew was disciplined for both of those games last year, and it sounds like there may be more coming after this game.

Then I went back and watched the game. A few things struck me about what I saw.

The Lions did commit a lot of penalties. But there were several glaring omissions by the officiating crew on the Bears. Here were the lowlights of the calls.

- On 3 separate plays (including one of the TD bombs) a Lions D-Lineman was tackled after beating the Bears O-Line. James Hall was the victim on two of the no-calls, Kalimba on the third. Each should have been an easy holding call, but there were inexcusably missed.

- Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I though tackling someone's head was illegal. On 5 separate plays, I saw Bears defenders tackling a Lions players Head. Granted, facemasks weren't grabbed, but heads were still turned around or snapped in unnatural directions. For some reason, I thought that type of tackling was outlawed as Being too significant of an injury risk. Apparently either I am wrong, or the officials don't know about the rule.

- The Berrian TD and the Kitna fumble should have been reviewed and overturned. I am very convinced after seeing the replays that Kitna's arm was moving forward, and definitely convinced that the ball Berrian caught bounced off the ground before he had control.
Those aren't on the officials per se, but on Rod for not throwing the red hanky.

Beyond that I was left with one more surprising revelation. If the Lions hadn't kept shooting themselves in the foot by fumbling and committing their own stupid penalties, the game was a lot closer than it appeared.

OK, now stop laughing and wipe up the beverage you just shot out of your nose off your monitor.

Unlike in previous games, the Lions were moving the ball with relative ease against the Bears D.
Their primary problem was stopping themselves with penalties, or turnovers. The Lions first two drives lasted all of 5 plays combined and ended up with turnovers that gave the Bears awesome field position. The third drive, they came out with three quick first downs, then had consecutive plays of a sack, false start and holding to turn a 1st and 10 at the 46 into a 2nd and 31 at the 25. The next drive, a KJ 12 yard swing pass was negated by a holding call on Mike Furrey. By the time they stopped committing penalties, they were already down 24-0. After that point, they simply allowed sacks to stop their drives.

The D wasn't as bad as it looked either, and Grossman wasn't as good as he appeared. As I previously mentioned, Berrian trapped his TD catch. His first TD pass capped of an impressive, time consuming 2 play, 3 yard drive that took 38 seconds off the clock. The third TD to Desmond Clark was one of the plays that featured James Hall getting tackled. And the 4th TD came on the same drive as the Boss Bailey interception TD that was called back. As a side note, yes, the penalty was a good call, but it was pretty ticky-tack - that call could be made on nearly every play.

So my conclusion is that it was a deceiving game as to how evenly matched the two teams are because of the officiating. I hate sounding like sour grapes and placing so much blame on the officiating, but it is what it is. Many of the Lions penalties were correct calls. But there were a LOT of missed calls out there. And when you miss so many calls, it definitely skews the outcome of the game.

A side note - I won't be watching the game this weekend, and I won't get a chance to see the TiVo until next weekend. More business travel back to Arizona, and I fly out on Sunday morning. Needless to say, I'm not thrilled about the time my flight was booked. It's just great to have season tickets and not get a chance to actually go to the games...

1 comment:

Dan said...

Well, if you weren't ever going to be able to use your season tickets, you should have bought them in Nashville, for the Titans. That way I would have been able to go for you!