In the most deflating moment of the Washington Redskins season, the team was snake-bitten by the “Calvin Johnson” rule named after the Detroit Lions’ All-Pro wide receiver. In the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game Aldrick Robinson, who has a history of burning secondaries on the long ball, broke free and caught a beautifully flung Robert Griffin III pass that had the football gods standing endorsement.
For a five-minute span it appeared that the Redskins had finally turned the page on a disappointing start—in similar fashion to his touchdown sprints against the Cowboys and Eagles last year too.
But the elated crowd response was short-lived, as Ed Hochuli ruled that the third-year receiver did not maintain possession of the pigskin all the way through and the ball “was rolling on the ground”.
“When I saw the replay, I saw that the ball was sliding on the ground, but I for sure caught the ball,” Robinson said after the game. “I had the ball in my left hand, but the camera view was on the right side and then I had it in my right-side hand.
“I secured the catch and I got up knowing that I secured the catch. When everyone was down, I saw that everyone wasn’t as excited as I was, so it was kind of strange to me. When I saw the replay, I saw what everyone else saw.”
Lions head coach Jim Schwartz, who’s been on the wrong end of the complete possession call many a time before, said he knew right away that is was an incompletion.
“When we saw it, it was pretty obvious that it was going to get overturned. It was the exact same play that’s happened a bunch of times. I’m not known for my calm [nature] or anything like that, but if that wouldn’t have been overruled, I would have had a difficult time.
I might’ve had a conniption – whatever that is. I’m sort of wired in the game anyways. I don’t know if you noticed there, all the players on both teams moved back. They saw it, the coaches saw it, we saw it – that was what happened.”
It was one of two calls that went against the Redskins in the fourth quarter. The other was Griffin III’s fumble after his longest run of the season.
As they get back to work tomorrow, execution and fundamentals will be two elements the team will focus on to correct the wrongdoings and finally get a one in the win column.
They were correct calls,” Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan said. “Both calls were correct. Aldrick – the ball did hit the ground. Robert – you can go head-first, but you have to have ball security when you do hit the ground.
“We have to play cleaner and be more consistent.”
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