Micheal Spurlock’s toe tapping sideline catch, late in the fourth quarter, of an almost improbable come from behind win for the Bucs against the defending AFC North champs, Cincinnati Bengals. Has former Bucs beat writer Don Banks, now of SportsIlustrated.com confused, so much so, that as he see’s it, the “PHANTOM” catch will surely reignite controversy over what exactly is or isn’t a catch in the NFL.
I think they got hosed on the Spurlock call, but that doesn’t absolve the Bengals entirely. The defending AFC North champs let a Bucs team that won three games last year pin a third loss on them, dropping Cincinnati to below .500 at 2-3, two full games behind first-place Baltimore.
I’d love to know what Calvin Johnson thought of that 21-yard, game-deciding catch by Bucs receiver Michael Spurlock in the final seconds of Tampa Bay’s 24-21 upset at Cincinnati. Really, NFL, that was a reception? Even though Spurlock clearly used the ground to help secure the ball as he landed, and the ball ended up moving in his arms as he came in contact with the ground anyway?
To repeat myself from Week 1, I’m not sure I know what a legal catch is any more. I was almost positive Spurlock’s catch would be reversed by replay, because I thought the cameras clearly showed he failed to maintain possession once he hit the ground. The way I saw it, Johnson’s nullified game-winning catch against the Bears in Week 1 was about three times more of a catch than Spurlock’s upheld reception against the Bengals.
Why do I think we’re in for another four of five days of raging debate about this latest call, and that the NFL’s rules for the possession of a reception just got more confusing than ever?
After the play was reviewed by the replay booth, it was determined that Spurlock maintained possession of the football after hitting the ground and was able to tap both toes inbound. Since it was ruled a catch on the field, there had to be indisputable evidence to overturn the call on the field. Based on the referee’s interpretation and supporting video evidence the play stood and the Bucs Connor Barth, proceeded to kick the winning field goal.
It now seems that media types who picked the Bucs to win less then three games all year, are now looking to conjure up controversy as too why the Bucs are on there way to disproving those same so call “experts” predictions.
Here is the text of the rule:
N.F.L. Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3, Item 1: Going to the ground. If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball after he touches the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.