In a sequence of events that in a way reminded all Lions fans of the Calvin Johnson catch, no-catch against the Bears a couple of years ago it seems as though the Lions once again fell victim to another perplexing and downright horrible NFL rule.
During the third quarter of the Thanksgiving Day game between the Lions and Houston Texans, running back Justin Forsett was credited with an 81-yard touchdown run to bring the Texans within a field goal. Witnesses though to this play will see that Forsett was obviously taken down six or seven yards into the play but continued to run given the refs didn’t blow the whistle again resulting in a touchdown.
No big deal since all scoring plays are reviewed upstairs right? Wrong…
An emotional Lions head coach Jim Schwartz threw out the challenge flag which automatically negated the booth review resulting in a touchdown that should’ve been overturned.
In addition to the play not being reviewed, Schwartz was given a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty (assessed on the kickoff) for challenging a play that was already going to be reviewed in the first place.
Odd? I think so too.
Nonetheless the officials made the correct call in terms of not reviewing the play, however they once again totally blew a blatant call on the field by failing to blow the play dead once Forsett had his knee and elbow on the ground.
On technicality ruling was proper. Schwartz will admit he was wrong. In reality system is incredibly flawed. That was embarrassing for NFL
— MikeTirico (@miketirico) November 22, 2012
The official wording for this rule states:
Penalty: For initiating a challenge when a team is prohibited from doing so: Loss of 15 yards.” That section also states that the official “cannot initiate a review of any ruling against a team that commits a foul that delays the next snap.
And the NFL justifies the rule by saying it prevents a team from manipulating the clock by throwing a challenge flag.
Just got back from the field. The rule penalizing Schwartz is good. The rule not allowing the play to be reviewed is horrible. Must change
— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) November 22, 2012
Now I get the NFL trying to eliminate any type of opportunity to delay the course of the game in which time management is extremely crucial. However what the is the point of even having that rule if the play was going to be reviewed in the first place? Not to mention this rule alone is extremely harsh given the entire point of an automatic review is to ultimately get the call right! And in the end how fair is it really to let a wrong call stand as a form of punishment let alone tack on 15 yards on the ensuing kickoff?
If the NFL insists on replaying every touchdown and turnover that happens throughout the course of the game then it really needs to happen in every single one of those situations otherwise like the rule located on Page 89 of the NFL Rulebook what’s the point of even having automatic replays or replays in general?
But again before you go off and begin to draw exact parallels to the Calvin Johnson play against the Bears you need to hold on a second. That play alone came with less than a minute left in the game and would’ve given the Lions 20-19 lead pending the extra point. Thursday’s play had an indirect effect given the Lions had more chances to actually win the game.
This is just something else that the NFL needs to think about and assess which they more than likely wont.
h/t: USA Today, SportsBlog Nation