Calvin Johnson: 'I thought I understood the rule'

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Calvin Johnson has been involved with process of the catch and catching rules in the NFL for the past five years.

And he is among the players in the league somewhat confused by what is and is not a catch right now.

"I thought I understood the rule," Johnson said. "I don't think anybody does know. But I'm glad it's a touchdown. That's all I can say."

The topic again was on center stage Sunday, when Lions receiver Golden Tate was awarded a touchdown catch after a review overturned the officials' initial call of a Chicago Bears interception.

After the Lions' win, Tate said that "yeah, sometimes" he wonders what a catch is in the league right now. So did Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery, who compared Tate's catch Sunday to a similar situation from Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman earlier this season.

Houston Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins made a few spectacular catches during Sunday's win against the Jacksonville Jaguars. On one, he trapped the ball against his helmet on the sideline.

Hopkins has worked in the past year to learn how to earn the benefit of the doubt from officials on those plays.

"It's something that we practice with the sideline drills," Hopkins said. "I guess when you go out of bounds keeping control of the ball. I had a couple games earlier in the season where I had a touchdown or catch taken away from me because the ref said I didn't hold onto the ball, but that whole rule to me is skewed. I don't think they got that rule right. You can have control of the ball, but you might switch hands. What is really control of the ball? I just wanted to have it to my helmet and show the refs I was in control, I guess, the whole time, to them. I really don't understand the rule. The rule is really, it's messed up, honestly."

Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant and Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert also have been involved in catch-related questions the past few years.

Information from ESPN.com's Texans reporter Tania Ganguli was used in this report.