Insult To Injury: Lions Lose Stafford, Opener

The Detroit Lions didn't want to hear the phrase, "insult to injury" upon opening their 2010 campaign. But it just might define it.

The Detroit Lions didn't want to hear the phrase, "insult to injury" upon opening their 2010 campaign.

But following Sunday's heart-breaking, 19-14 loss at Chicago, it might just define the season.

Calvin Johnson's 25-yard, acrobatic touchdown reception from backup Shaun Hill with just seconds remaining was overturned on a questionable call, and an even more questionable rule.

The points would have given the Lions the lead and likely the winning play, a rather epic turn of events considering the team's lackluster performance, which wasn't helped after second-year quarterback Matthew Stafford departed the first half with a shoulder injury.

Johnson, who finished with just four receptions for 45 yards, appeared to collect the touchdown, land with possession of the ball, and roll to the ground. He planted the ball in the end zone turf upon celebrating, an act the refs and booth deemed an interuption of the 'process.'

"He's catching the football, as he goes to the ground, he must maintain possession of the ball throughout the entire process," explained referee Gene Steratore after the game. "So as he continues to fall if he fell with two feet and his elbow hit the ground and came out, it would be incomplete.

"The process was not finished until he finished that roll and the entire process of the catch."

Both Lions coach Jim Schwartz and Johnson voiced their displeasure to no avail.

Detroit was otherwise outplayed by the host Bears, who netted 463 yards of total offense to the Lions' 168. Schwartz's bunch ran for just 20 yards on 21 carries, stymied by a staunch and stubborn Chicago defense.

Despite the lopsided statistics, Detroit's defense was rather a pleasant surprise, managing to stifle the Chicago offense in scoring territory, including a four-down, goal-line stand late in the final period.

On Chicago's final drive, however, the Lions' defense relented, allowing a 28-yard Jay Cutler-to-Matt Forte strike for the go-ahead score.

The Lions didn't have word on the status of Stafford immediately following the contest. He left after landing awkwardly on his right throwing shoulder after a Julius Peppers' sack stripped him of the football.

Preliminary reports suggested that Stafford suffered a seperation of the shoulder. If that's the case, the former top overall pick could miss the entire season if surgery is required, or six-to-eight weeks otherwise.


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