If you’re a Lions fan like me you probably had a punched-in-the-gut feeling following the Lions’ overtime loss to the New York Jets. I can only imagine what it must have felt like for head coach Jim Schwartz.
Schwartz said all the right things in his post game press conference and was quite clear to shoulder the blame for the Lions’ inability to put the game away. Admirable, but unnecessary.
You can question the decision to put Ndamukong Suh in to kick what turned out to be an important extra point but it is actually a scenario they were prepared for. Rather than letting the failure rest with Suh, Schwartz says he erred in not calling a timeout to let Suh better prepare for what he was about to do. Maybe, but I doubt that had much impact on the missed attempt.
Fans will question the decision to call a pass play on a critical third down when the Lions needed to run out the clock. Schwartz once again put the blame on himself by not making it perfectly clear that it was ok to lose yardage on the play. Stanton having not received the message and not thought the scenario through in his head let a pass go that went incomplete. Rather than ticking off another 40 seconds the clock stood painfully still. Schwartz’s fault? He might try to take the blame but I’ll lay that one on Drew Stanton. Part of being a professional football player is having a certain level of game-sense to do the smart thing whether you were reminded of it or not.
In the end, Schwartz’s handling of the media will probably go a long way with his players. Rather than point the finger or blame the loss on bad luck he took the responsibility on himself. Players tend to play hard for coaches that have their back and Schwartz publicly showed his team that he has their back, it is one decision for which he deserves credit.