DETROIT — Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz may never live this one down.
In a wild Thanksgiving game that's already included a controversial kick to the groin, Schwartz gifted the Houston Texans an 81-yard touchdown run that clearly should have been called back when he wildly threw his red challenge flag on a play he couldn't challenge under the NFL's sometimes arcane rules (rules that any head coach should be completely versed in).
The review never happened. Because Schwartz threw his red challenge flag on a play he couldn't challenge.
Here's the situation: Second-string Texans running back Justin Forsett clearly touched the field early in his 81-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. He should have been called down (both his knee and elbow were down). And he almost certainly would have been in the standard review of all scoring plays that would have overturned the call on the field.
Only, the review never happened. Because Schwartz threw his red challenge flag on a play he couldn't challenge by rule.
And once a coach throws a challenge flag on a play that would be automatically reviewed by the booth, that play is no longer reviewed. And the offending coach's team is given a 15-yard penalty to boot.
So a touchdown that everyone in America knows wasn't really a touchdown becomes one officially. You can reasonably argue that this NFL rule is ridiculous.
But the touchdown is on the Lions' coach. It's his colossal blunder— and it may have just saved the Texans on a day when little seemed to be going right.
Schwartz absolutely needs to know and remember that rule in the heat of the game. Hey, this is one way to shift the focus from Ndamukong Suh.