DETROIT– It appeared that the Bears defense had generated a key turnover late in the first half in Sunday's 37-34 overtime loss to the Lions, but the call was reversed.
On third-and-goal from the 2 with the Lions leading 14-13, Matthew Stafford rifled a slant pass to receiver Golden Tate. Cornerback Kyle Fuller stripped the ball loose and nose tackle Eddie Goldman got a hand on it in the air before linebacker Jonathan Anderson picked it off in the end zone with :53 left in the half.
The officials ruled it an interception and a touchback. But after a replay review, referee Walt
Coleman reversed the call to a Lions touchdown.
Asked by a pool reporter to explain the decision after the game, Coleman said: "The receiver gained possession of the ball with two feet down, and he was standing upright. He wasn't going to the ground; he was standing upright. Two feet down. Possession of the ball. Takes one more step, and then the ball was stripped out.
"Well in the end zone, once you have a completed catch, it's a touchdown. The play is over. He was standing upright. It wasn't like he was going to the ground where he would have had to have held onto the ball. But he was standing upright. Completed the catch with the ball in the end zone. That makes it a touchdown."
Asked if Tate had become a runner, Coleman said: "Yes, because he took that third step and that's when they stripped. He had that third step down then they stripped the ball and he had become a runner at that point."
Of course, the replay reversal probably would never have happened had Bears defenders Jarvis Jenkins and Sam Acho not both missed tackles on Stafford's 10-yard scramble on third-and-eight earlier on the possession.
After allowing only four touchdowns in the last three games, the Bears defense struggled in the first half Sunday, yielding TD drives of 80, 79 and 85 yards.
Stafford, who entered the game ranked 33rd out of 35 qualifiers in the NFL with a 74.8 passer rating, threw three of his four TD passes in the first half—one week after he had been benched in a loss to the Cardinals.
"We had a lot of chances," said outside linebacker Pernell McPhee. "We didn't finish it, but we've just got to come back to work and tighten up the screws.
"We started off slow today and I think this was our worst performance all year. But they get paid to play offense and they did a nice job of scheming and they came out playing harder than we did."