Smith, Childress deal with officiating woes

We've had a number of officiating-related developments late Monday afternoon here in the NFC North. Let's get to each of them:

1. Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith admitted he should have challenged a third-quarter fumble by quarterback Jay Cutler on the Washington Redskins' 1-yard line Sunday. As we discussed earlier Monday, Smith had just used -- and lost -- the first of his two allotted challenges on the play before. But replays indicated Cutler got the ball across the goal line before fumbling.

"Yes, I should have [thrown the flag]." Smith said. "Looking at it in hindsight, normally if there's a critical situation I throw it whether I have a good look or not on it -- and I didn't have a great look on it, but that was a critical play in the game and I need to make that call. I just used one [challenge] up before that, and at the time, I thought we were in control of the game."

If anything, Smith's poor decision to challenge the spot on Earl Bennett's 48-yard reception made him skittish about challenging a play that had a much higher probability of being overturned.

2. Minnesota coach Brad Childress said he spoke early Monday morning with Carl Johnson, the NFL's vice president of officiating, about two calls in Sunday night's 28-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

According to Childress, Johnson said referee Scott Green's crew was in error for reversing tight end Visanthe Shiancoe's 17-yard touchdown. Childress also revealed that Johnson told him that Packers tight end Andrew Quarless' 9-yard touchdown reception would have been overruled if it had been challenged.

Quarless appeared to lose control of the ball as he landed in the back of the end zone. Childress said he wished he had challenged the touchdown, but didn't see a replay in time.

"I do wish I would have," Childress said. "because I was told it would have been an incomplete pass. Just like I was told this morning that [Shiancoe's catch] was a touchdown by Carl Johnson and that he was disappointed to see that reversed."

Shiancoe appeared to be in compliance with NFL Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3, item 4 says: "If the ball touches the ground after the player secures control of it, it is a catch, provided that the player continues to maintain control."

The NFL doesn't typically publicize its post-game discussions on officiating, and I'm guessing it won't be pleased that Childress revealed the details of his conversation with Johnson. It's also not clear if Childress will be fined for lashing out against Green's crew Sunday night. But as they say, it's all water under the bridge. No matter what the NFL says now, nothing will change the outcome of the game.