Weird play to kick off the Bears-Lions game this afternoon. On the first play from scrimmage Dan Orlovsky threw an interception to Mike Brown that appeared to be returned for a touchdown. The refs reviewed the play and overturned the call making it an interception but down by contact. This was weird because the WR, Calvin Johnson, and the FS, Mike Brown, both closed on the ball at the same time and they made contact before the ball reached the target and before the ball was intercepted. The contact knocked Mike Brown to the ground but he still caught the ball after the contact. Now, since he was the defender when the contact was made and possession had not been established it seems to me that he should be allowed to get up and run so long as he wasn’t touched down after he caught the ball. That wasn’t the call however. The ref didn’t really elaborate on the rules so I’m curious if anyone knows what the proper ruling here is. Can a player be knocked to the ground before he catches the ball? Can a defender be considered to be knocked down when it’s still the offenses ball? I recall the famous Antonio Freeman play against the Packers where he was knocked down before he made a circus catch and he was allowed to return the ball, so my instinct is that this was a blown call.
Anyways, it cost the Bears 4 points since they ended up settling for a FG on that possession, though after dominating the 1st quarter I don’t suppose it’ll matter too much.