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Detroit Lions, NFL Rule Book Turkeys Once Again


Photo credit: Zac Snyder/

Houston Texans 34, Detroit Lions 31 (overtime) (box score)

Happy Thanksgiving, Lions fans! Now let me kick you in the junk.

The Lions had a prime opportunity to end their Thanksgiving Day losing streak but instead extended it to nine.

The overriding narrative will be that the Lions once again couldn’t close out a game but that premise is at least faulty in this case. The Lions may not have closed out the game the way it unfolded but they weren’t able to close out the game as it was actually played on the field.

Justin Forsett’s 81-yard touchdown run in the third quarter was the kind of farce that leads to rule changes in the offseason. He was obviously down by contact on the play but the whistle never blew and Forsett got up and ran towards the end zone. It was such an egregious error that Jim Schwartz threw the challenge flag even though all scoring plays are reviewed automatically. The result of throwing the challenge flag was an unsportsmanlike foul that inexplicably negated the review allowing the play to stand.

It was a play that allowed the Texans to put points on the board despite not being anywhere near scoring position on the field and cut the Lions lead to 24-21.

Was Schwartz in the wrong? Absolutely (ignoring the folly for being penalized for throwing a challenge flag when a review would have occured anyway), but if the purpose of replay is to get the play right, the system was a total failure as far as today was concerned. Why not get the play call correct and then assessing the penalty yardage or taking away a timeout from the Lions?

Even still, the Lions had plenty of opportunities to close out a win but just didn’t do it. Brandon Pettigrew is the easy player to target as today’s turkey with a drop that would have put the Lions in field goal range to extend a fourth quarter lead to 10 points and a fumble in Texans territory that ended their first drive in overtime.

And yet the Lions still had a chance to win the game with a field goal but Jason Hanson hit the right upright. The field goal attempt was preceded by two straight conservative running plays that suggested the Lions were content to settle for the long field goal rather than putting themselves in better position to win the game.

In the end it’s just another loss with plenty of blame to go around – it just took longer to play this time. Enjoy your family, enjoy your friends and enjoy some food and drink. Happy Thanksgiving.

This was my first Lions game since Verizon hooked me up with a Droid RAZR M (check out that image up above – pretty sweet, right?). I know a lot of people complain about their service getting jammed up when at sporting events but I had absolutely no problems a Ford Field with my M on the Verizon 4G network. Now I’m writing this post from the car on the way home from Ford Field using the mobile hotspot as my internet connection. It’s very nice. If you’re in the market for a new cell phone this black Friday, I highly recommend the Droid RAZR M.

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Wireless Midwest Fans program and have been provided with a wireless device and five months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.