Jim Schwartz costs Lions TD review; NFL likely to look at rule

With the Lions holding a 10-point lead over the Texans midway through the third quarter and with the home crowd pumped that its team was holding off one of the AFC title favorites, a fluke play and a terrible non-call by the officials completely changed the momentum of this Thanksgiving Day game.

Here’s what happened when Matt Schaub handed off the ball to Justin Forsett (via SB Nation):



After that moment, Forsett got off the turf and continued running to the end zone to score a touchdown. Even though I didn’t write the text on that GIF, it’d be hard to explain how that score would not be overturned, because his elbow and his knee clearly were down.

But Lions coach Jim Schwartz threw the challenge flag, even though every scoring play is automatically reviewed. Just like when Falcons coach Mike Smith last week tried to challenge a call that would have been reviewed anyway, the officials threw a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty on Schwartz.

Once that penalty was called, the touchdown play automatically becomes not reviewable, and Forsett’s 81-yard touchdown stood. Houston parlayed that momentum into a forced punt from Detroit and then a 45-yard field goal from Shayne Graham to tie the score near the end of the third quarter.

After his mistake, Schwartz was seen on the sideline telling assistants, “That’s on me.” Um, yes.  

UPDATE: According to CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora, the NFL in the offseason likely will review the rule that disallows a replay when a coach challenges a scoring play, though the 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty has support around the league.

The competition committee meets next in the spring.


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