Bizarre ruling changed a Bears interception into a touchdown for the Lions, proving the NFL's catch rules are still a mystery

The NFL’s catch rules have become an even bigger subject of debate since Dez Bryant’s non-catch in the playoffs last year.

There have been several instances already this season of catches that were ruled incomplete and vice versa.

The Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears added to that list Sunday, with a seemingly obvious turnover in the end zone from Golden Tate that was ruled a touchdown after review.

Tate caught the pass in the end zone, but upon getting a second step in the end zone, was stripped, fumbled the ball, and it landed in the hands of a Bears player.

Here’s the play:

Another look:

On the field it was a ruled an interception, and even Fox rules analyst and former Vice President of Officiating Mike Pereira said on air, “Did he become a runner? Because breaking the plane [of the end zone] does not apply until you become a runner… The ball gets stripped out very quickly, so to me, he does not become the runner, not able to ward off contact, so to me, it’s either ruled incomplete or it’s actually ruled not a catch at that point, then it becomes basically an interception and a touchback.”

However, the referees reviewed the play and ruled it a touchdown.

Going off Pereira’s analysis, it seems like Tate didn’t establish himself as a runner before losing the ball, but the referees though that the two feet he got into the end zone as he had already broken the plane were enough.

Pereira didn’t exactly agree:

As we saw in last year’s playoffs with Bryant, the general unknown of the catch rules are going to come back to bite a team. While the NFL has lots of issues they’d like to look at, defining what constitutes a catch should be high up on the list. 

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