ESCANABA - The Detroit Lions hit a new low Sunday, even for them.
How many teams can score the game-winning touchdown and still lose the game?
That was the miserable scenario for the NFL's cream puff after a screwy rule erased a touchdown catch by Calvin Johnson with 30 seconds left. Detroit failed to score on its final two plays and Chicago held on for an undeserved 19-14 victory.
There is no question Johnson caught the ball in bounds and landed on both feet. He even turned and his body and a hand hit the ground before the ball landed. However, he failed to complete the receiving process, according to the rule, when the ball bounced out of his hand.
Had Johnson ran toward the end zone and extended the ball across the goal line before losing the handle, it would have counted as a touchdown, as we've all seen many times. Why is there a difference?
Had the game been played in Detroit, how do you think the rule would have been enforced? Or if a Chicago receiver had been the pass catcher at Soldier's Field, how do you thing the rule would have been enforced?
Even though the rule was enforced correctly, which even the Lions admit, it is obviously a poorly defined rule and must be adjusted.
It's hard enough for the Lions to win, especially on the road. Don't take it away from them when they finally accomplish their mission.
It is the second time this season a Detroit team was victimized. Tigers' pitcher Armando Galarraga was denied a perfect game June 2 when first base umpire Jim Joyce ruled the 27th batter was safe on an infield grounder, a call Joyce later admitted was wrong.
* Detroit Westside Christian Academy was a grateful football visitor to Escanaba Saturday and played a much better and entertaining game than expected from a young program and small school.
The Warriors were added to the schedule just four days earlier when they noticed both schools were open. Escanaba may reciprocate next year, but EHS athletic director Dave Wilson is not making any quick decisions.
"It is definitely an option, but I want to look at all our options," he said, indicating something might be found closer in Wisconsin.
"That group of kids had something special going," said Wilson.
The Warriors, a non-denominational school, asked the Eskymos to join them in a post-game prayer and formed a circle at mid-field. 'We wanted to show our faith even though we lost," said coach Sean Tarrant.
Escanaba coach Dan Flynn was happy to fill the open date and enjoyed the chance to throw a dig at schools who have declined to visit Escanaba or even host the Eskymos for fear of losing.
"This is a great example of let's play football and let the kids have a (full) football season as opposed to coaches who only play you if they can beat you," Flynn said.
* Jeremy Hardy is off to a good start with the Lakeland College soccer team. The junior from Big Bay de Noc High School scored the season's first goal for the Muskies and has started all three games.
"Jeremy works hard and has a real good sense of the game," said coach Tony Pierce in a news release from the school. "One minute he's battling the ball and the next thing you know he goes right by you. Our opponents underestimate his speed."
Hardy had two goals in 18 games last season. "He's a versatile player," said Pierce.