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The NFL, Zach Miller & The Catch That Never Was

FootballAdrian RamirezComment

Yesterday’s game between the Chicago Bears and the New Orleans Saints was yet another beautiful example of the NFL’s inability to determine what constitutes a catch.

This inconsistency impacts games almost regularly, but it’s especially frustrating when your team is on the short end of the stick with the Bears ultimately falling to the Saints, 20-12.

As a Bears fan that lived through the distressing Cutler years, I’d be remised if I said I didn’t have high hopes for our rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky.

So when he threw an absolute dime to TE Zach Miller for a touchdown late in the third quarter, I was hyped. But thanks to referee Carl Cheffers neglecting to actually watch the play; that hype was short-lived. He overturned the touchdown call on the basis that Miller lost control of the ball as he turned over to grab his injured knee. 

Take a look at the video:

(Via TM VLOGS on YouTube)

How in the hell is that not a catch? I watched the replay more times than anyone should, and all I could see was Miller severely injuring his knee over and over again.

I must admit that when the NFL overturned Calvin Johnson’s game-winning touchdown catch against the Bears in 2010, my objection was nowhere to be found. But in Miller's case, I was not having it. Chaffers's call simultaneously stripped the Bears of the lead and of the confidence Trubisky would have gained from the drive. 

I think that a decision like that not only shapes the outcome of a game, but also the outcome of a season. I know that overturning Miller’s touchdown catch didn't cost the Bears a bid to the Superbowl, but it did change the course of the game and it negatively affected their chance of a playoff bid.

I think that a decision like that not only shapes the outcome of a game, but also the outcome of a season.

At that point, the Bears would have taken the lead, 13-10 when you factor in Connor Barth's missed field goal, and Kyle Fuller’s offsides penalty that ultimately resulted in a touchdown for the Saints—a +4 point swing.

Little things, like what I mentioned above, changed the entire dynamic of the game. I think, had the Miller touchdown been upheld, the Bears come away with a victory - because the offense would have approached the possessions following Mark Ingram's two fumbles differently.

Now, instead of being in a position to challenge the Minnesota Vikings for the lead in NFC North, the Bears fall behind 3 games to last place in the division with a record of 3-5. If the Bears lose a wildcard spot because of a single game, I'll look to this one as a turning point in the season. What's more, Trubisky loses one of his favorite targets in an offense that was already working with a severely depleted receiving corps.

 Bears fans can't be happy. (via rantsports.com)

Bears fans can't be happy. (via rantsports.com)

It goes without saying that had the Bears won; this article wouldn't exist. And in the end, the "what ifs" and "should haves" don't matter, but they sure make for an interesting discussion.