Replays appeared to show Berrian catching the ball over Lions corner Andre Goodman with both feet in bounds but officals ruled that Berrian did not have full control of the football. Another view of the play appeared to show the ball moving at times during the attempted catch.
"You have to demonstrate control all the way through," explained Lions president Matt Millen when asked about his view of the disputed play.
"Andre was still fighting him when his feet were down, so if his feet came down and he still did not have control of the ball because Andre's hand was in there, then I understand the call, then it's a good call. But I couldn't see it. What I saw, it looked like six to me."
Bears head coach Lovie Smith was diplomatic about the tough call. "[The officals] didn't give me any more (explanation) either. We went right to the next play. I got the same explanation that you got and I'm still trying to figure out exactly what it was," said Smith.
"We saw it a couple of times on the screen. But I've seen things differently quite a few times with officials and this was another time. I think more people will see it my way, but again, they call, they said it was out so it's a loss for us," said Smith.
Berrian said there was no doubt it was a touchdown. "We went down, called the play, threw it. We've been doing it for a while now. I caught the ball, got two feet in and hit the ground. It was a touchdown. No doubt at all."
The dispute was a culmination of a lack luster second half performance.
Detroit appeared to be on the way to a rout after building a 13-0 halftime lead. However, quarterback Joey Harrington's ill-advised throw into a blitz was picked off by linebacker Lance Briggs who returned it 38 yards and a touchdown and suddenly a dead Bears team had new life.
"There's two ways to beat a blitz," explained Harrington, "you can max it up and block it or you can release all your guys and get rid of it before the guy gets home. We had one of those protections on and he got home as I was throwing the ball and got hold of me and hit me as I was throwing the football."
After a missed two-point conversion, Chicago put together their best drive of the day on their next possession, a 9-play, 90-yard drive led by running back Thomas Jones who gained 109 yards on the day and 32 yards on the drive. Hutchingson hit fullback James McKie from 15 yards out and the Bears were within six setting up the game's pivotal key play.
Lions rookie running back Kevin Jones, who was named a pro bowl alternate, gained 123 yards on 25 attempts moving him over the 1,000 yard mark for the season. I'm happy. It's a big achievement doing it as a rookie," said Jones. "I'm proud of myself for that." But he quickly added, "I'm upset because I put the ball on the ground two times today. I've got to get better doing that."
Jones became only the third rookie in the team's history to rush for 1,000 yards joining hall of fame back Barry Sanders and Lions great Billy Sims. "I'ts a great honor. They are two of the best ever," said Jones of Sanders and Sims. "For me to be mentioned, with those guys as a rookie, it's a great honor."
His one-yard plunge gave the Lions their only touchdown of the day, and staked the team to a 10-0 lead. Jason Hanson added three more field goals from 39, 34 and 40 yards to go with his 31 yarder that started the scoring to give the Lions their early 3-0 lead.
"They bounced back but we didn't play very well. We got by on a subpar effort all the dropped passes, the penalities, but I'll still take a win," said Lions president Matt Millen.
"We came in, what 16-0? and we only scored three points in the second half? That's not the way you want to finish a football game. We know we're better than that and we just have to work harder to improve in that area."
Lions head coach Steve Mariucci said the Lions are still a work in progress. "I am happy that our team is not elated and celebrating because our expectations and what we are working for is better than that."
We'll enjoy [the win], we'll take it, we'll learn more from it," said the coach. "We've got a bunch of guys in there (that are) bound and determined to make that happen. I like their resolve and the way they feel right now. I think that's healthy. I asked them to rest and enjoy it. We're going to get back to work on Wednesday and see if we can get win number seven."