Following the Cincinnati game, many of us were frustrated by the officials upholding the call that Stevie Johnson dropped the third down pass late in the game. Gailey correctly challenged the call, and the official said that Stevie did not catch the pass. I know this play has been discussed ad nauseum on this site, and I know that the implications (we hold the ball and go down to secure the win with a score) have been fantasized about as well.
However, yesterday in the 49ers
games, a similar play occurred on Brandon Pettigrew's
touchdown catch early in the game (not to be confused with Burleson's touchdown later that spurred the criticism for inconsistency). Pettigrew made the catch over Patrick Willis
and went to the ground with Willis' arm still in his grasp. On the ground, Willis pulled out his arm and dislodged the football. This play was ruled a catch and a touchdown (and potentially laid the groundwork for the Harbaugh-Schwartz blow up - Schwartz was on video mouthing "learn the rules" across the field toward Harbaugh when Harbaugh challenged the non-challengeable scoring play).
My point: if Pettigrew made a catch, then shouldn't Stevie have gotten credit for the catch? Both of these plays received an extensive review, and both reviews had clear visuals on what happened (meaning the refs were able to make a determination instead of merely upholding the call on the field). I join with Mike Silver and other writers who clamour for a clearer rule on what is a catch - namely, if it would be a catch on the playground, then it should likely be a catch in the NFL.
Final thought: if the NFL officials were consistently applying the rules, then the Bills
would be 5-1 (yes, I took some liberties with the ending of the Cincy game).
PS - I think the official correctly ruled the Manningham catch incomplete over McGee because the ball was moving as they hit - Mario never had complete control. A much easier call for the official to make and for the fan to accept.
Just another great fan opinion shared on the pages of BuffaloRumblings.com.