The Lions coach mistake ruined what was otherwise a stellar effort from the Detroit football club as it looked to end a nearly decade long losing streak on Thanksgiving.
The Detroit Lions were leading the Houston Texans 24-14 in the third quarter when the Lions coach mistake occurred. Texans backup running back Justin Forsett broke off an 81-yard touchdown run, though it appeared that he was clearly down at the beginning of the play. Forsett’s arms and knee all made contact with the ground, but the referees failed to blow the whistle so the running back simply got up and continued on to the endzone.
The referees’ failure to whistle the play dead after Forsett went down was a mishap enough, but the mistake from Lions coach Jim Schwartz ensured that Detroit wouldn’t be able to overturn the play, The Associated Press noted.
Watching the conclusive evidence on the replay and angry that the referees didn’t call the play dead, Schwartz threw his red challenge flag onto the field. The only problem was that all touchdowns are automatically reviewed, and, by throwing the challenge flag, he not only negated the review but also cost his team a 15-yard penalty.
As NFL.com reported, the Lions coach mistake was a result of Schwartz’s anger from a previous call he missed.
“I was so mad they didn’t call him down,” Schwartz said after the game. “I had the flag out of my pocket before he even scored. I overreacted, and it cost us a touchdown.
“I was still mad over the first challenge that wasn’t overturned, and I thought it was pretty obvious and we didn’t get that call. Seemed like we were behind on a lot of calls today.”
The Lions coach mistake took away a chance for Detroit to end its long losing streak on Thanksgiving. The team hasn’t won on Turkey Day since 2003.