The NFL catch rule struck again on Sunday. The victim? Bears tight end Zach Miller. The NFL‘s gruesome injury problem also struck again on Sunday. The victim? Bears tight end Zach Miller.
Against the Saints, Miller somehow hung onto an incredible touchdown catch as he dislocated his knee. He had to be carted off the field. Moments later, the officials inexplicably overturned the touchdown.
Here’s the play in question, which occurred during the third quarter with the Bears trailing by 11 points.
Miller didn’t get up after catching the perfectly lofted pass from Mitchell Trubisky. Teammates immediately surrounded him and he was eventually carted off the field.
I won’t post the replay that shows his leg bending in a way that a leg shouldn’t bend, but click here if you want to watch it. The Bears immediately ruled him out for the remainder of the game. After the game, coach John Fox revealed that Miller dislocated his knee and was taken to the hospital.
To make matters worse: Miller’s touchdown didn’t count. After an official review, the touchdown was overturned, which seems absurd considering there definitely didn’t appear to be irrefutable evidence. The ball moved around in Miller’s arm, but it never seemed to hit the ground. Maybe it did. But there didn’t appear to be an angle that showed it touching the ground. And if there wasn’t an angle that showed the ball hitting the ground, then the call should’ve stood as called.
Lions receiver Golden Tate agreed:
So did Dean Blandino, the league’s former head of officiating.
The Bears ended up kicking a field goal to trim the Saints’ lead but still ended up losing a close game 20-12.
The injury is a brutal one. The Bears aren’t a team with great depth, so losing arguably their best pass catcher won’t help them make a surprising run in the NFC wild card race. Miller entered the game tied for the team lead in receiving yards and his two touchdown catches were a team high.
The injury is especially awful for Miller, who has been repeatedly forced to overcome significant injury issues in his career. Since entering the NFL in 2009, Miller’s appeared in only 66 games.
The outcome of the play — an incompletion — was also brutal for the Bears considering they probably aren’t a good enough team to beat the Saints in New Orleans with the breaks going against them. The break definitely went against them on that one play. They didn’t just lose out on six points. They lost one of their most important offensive players in the process.