Bears Add Another 'Replay Game' to Storied Past

DETROIT _ Bernard Berrian's non-touchdown catch will be remembered in Bears lore right there with Don Majkowski's instant replay touchdown pass in 1989.

What was thought by the Bears and even some of the Lions to be a 43-yard touchdown pass from Chad Hutchinson to Berrian was ruled incomplete and verified incomplete on replay.

And Berrian will never understand why.

"When you get two feet in bounds in the end zone, that's a touchdown, and it doesn't matter if the ball comes out,'' Berrian said.

Officials said replay showed Berrian bobbled the ball a little after striking the ground and rolling out of bounds in the end zone. No one in the Bears' locker room could see the bobble.

Berrian thought he had his third touchdown pass of the season on a play similar to the first two -- a deep route to the corner of the end zone.

Lions coach Steve Mariucci saw the replay and, like Bears coach Lovie Smith, assumed it was going to be overturned and called a touchdown catch. Like the Bears, Mariucci thought referee Terry McAulay was vague on what the exact ruling was.

"I only saw one replay and I don't know what his decision (replay) was on it,'' Mariucci said. "I thought it might have been a touchdown, maybe like you (reporters) did. I didn't see it well enough.

"We were preparing to go with a two-minute drill and win that game.''

Lions cornerback Dre' Bly had a better view of the play in the end zone than teammate Andre Goodman, who was covering Berrian on the play.

"We couldn't see where his foot was,'' Bly said. "I thought possibly his feet could've been on the white line, but the referee said the ball moved a little bit and that's what these guys do; they officiate games and I guess the ball did move a little bit, and I'm just glad it was in our favor.''

It was the second controversial replay of the game that went the Lions' way. In the early fourth quarter, after Lance Briggs' 38-yard interception return for a touchdown, the Bears appeared to get the ball back when Kevin Jones fumbled and Charles Tillman recovered.

Jones lost the ball when his elbow and forearm hit the ground, and replay overturned the field ruling of a fumble. The replay ruling called Jones down on contact with the ground.

However, it appeared no one had touched Jones before he struck the ground.

"We thought that ourselves,'' said defensive coordinator Ron Rivera.

"I didn't touch him,'' said safety Mike Green, who was given credit for making the forced fumble and tackle. "I couldn't tell if anyone else did, but I didn't.''

The Lions then drove to a 40-yard Jason Hanson field goal and a 19-6 lead.

While the Bears complained about a fate they didn't think they deserved, the Lions could only be thankful. The previous week they lost a thrill to Minnesota 28-27 when they botched a snap from center on an extra point.

"I was just glad,'' Bly said. ""The way things have been going for us the last few weeks, basically all year in our losses, we've had opportunities to win the game and it seems like on one play we lose the game.''

Not this time.

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