Posted November 17, 2013

Lions’ fake field goal attempt comes back to bite them in loss to Steelers (VIDEO)

AFC North, Detroit Lions, NFC North, Pittsburgh Steelers
Jim Schwartz said he was trying to be 'aggressive' with his fake field goal call.

Jim Schwartz said he was trying to be ‘aggressive’ with his fake field goal call. (Don Wright/AP)

The NFC North-leading Lions appeared to have the Steelers on the ropes Sunday. That is, until a failed fake field goal attempt — and a subsequent 97-yard touchdown drive by Pittsburgh — flipped the game on its head.

The Lions led 27-23 early in the fourth quarter at rainy Heinz Field when, on a 4th-and-5 from Pittsburgh’s 10, head coach Jim Schwartz called for a little trickery. Rather than take a chip-shot three points from David Akers, Schwartz opted to have punter/holder Sam Martin attempt to run for a first down.

Martin was stuffed shy of the marker, then fumbled when he was hit. The Steelers recovered at their own 3 and then marched 97 yards for a go-ahead TD.

Matthew Stafford fired an interception on the Lions’ next possession, which Pittsburgh later converted into another touchdown for the final 37-27 count.

As expected, Schwartz had to answer for his decision after the Lions’ loss:

The botched fourth down may stand out as the instant that Detroit let all momentum slip from its grasp. But the second half featured a near-complete team meltdown. The Lions failed to score over the game’s last 30 minutes after hanging 27 points on Pittsburgh in the second quarter. Stafford, who had 327 yards passing at the break, completed all of three passes for 35 yards in the final two quarters.

Perhaps those offensive struggles were all the more reason for Schwartz to take the three points — and a seven-point lead — in increasingly ugly weather conditions.

Instead, he rolled the dice and the revved-up Steelers made sure that decision backfired.

22 comments
hna44
hna44

In what world is that a smart decision? The offense had been completely lackluster in the second half, and you have a chance to go up 7, so that even if Pittsburgh answers, you're still tied and then a field goal wins it, instead of needing it to stay in the game.  Instead you trust a punter to get you 5 yards on fourth down, genius.

Nine Vegetable
Nine Vegetable

I am a Steelers fan but I have a completely different take on that decision.  Quite simply, if the Lions convert, they win the game (more likely than not).  Schwartz was going for the win.  Can't fault a guy for trying the win the football game.  Some of the same armchair coaches who are berating his decision, would be complimenting him if it had worked.  It was a gutsy call, it just didn't work out (fortunately for my Steelers).  Who could have predicted that the Steelers' struggling offense would march it 97 yards for the score?

ezwriter69
ezwriter69

Schwartz IS the Lions: Aggressive to a fault and dumber than dirt. They win the macho contest, just not any games that matter...

Chris Hinton
Chris Hinton

Fricking moron. Be aggressive at another point in the game. Not in the 4th Quarter when  field goal puts you up by a touchdown. Its a wonder that Schwartz is still there.


James C
James C

I did not watch the game, but this situation reminds me too much of the Michigan vs NW game Saturday. 

You have to take the points in these situations. 


Michigan was down 3, hadn't scored and offensive touchdown all game, and decides to go for it on 4th down with 5 minutes left, and gets stuffed. Brady Hoke got his rear end bailed out by a great kick and hold with 1 sec left. The fact UofM wins takes a lot of heat off Hoke. 


The next day, a team based 40 miles away does virtually the same thing. Is there something in the water? 


The reason you kick the FG is simple. A TD and Extra Point does not beat you. Yes Pittsburgh would still need a TD, and may still have driven for a TD, but that would not have beat you, it would have tied you. Instead you fail, fumble the ball away, the defense fails to step up, and allows a go ahead TD. Now the offense needs to press a little more, knowing they gave up an opportunity, and throws an INT. The INT becomes a game clinching score, rather than just a go ahead score. 


Was this call the reason Detroit lost? NO it wasn't. It was a poor performance on both sides of the ball in the second half that cost Detroit this game. When the team isn't playing well, the coach needs to know this and put points on the scoreboard when you can. 

JubJub
JubJub

It's amazing how good the Lions are at reminding us every few weeks that they're still the lions.

gary41
gary41

This was essentially a desperation call, but the underlying problem has been predictable offensive playcalling.  After being criticized for being offensively one dimensional for years, they FINALLY took a step in the right direction, this past year, but now have lapsed back into old habits.  Bottom line--the Lions have mediocre coaching.  

mwr5053
mwr5053

Stafford and the Lions passing game must have really stunk in the 2nd half if they could complete only 3 of 16 pass attempts against the Steelers horrible secondary.

OK
OK

The White Quarterback, Matt Stafford, went 3-for-16 with an interception in the second half of his team's failure against Pittsburgh.

Expect Peter King's MMQB to blame the Lions' defeat on the failure of Calvin Johnson to catch one of The White Quarterback's three completions in the second half.

pghpiratefan
pghpiratefan

It was a dumb call. Not the end of the game, but a dumb call in a position to increase the lead from 4 to 7 with 12 or so minutes left in the game. In a game where the Steelers had already dominated a good bit of the game, it's bad judgement to put the ball in the hands of your placeholder rather than take 3 practically automatic points. Oh well, you live and learn. We'll never know how much effect that had on the rest of the game, but they certainly had opportunities afterward to put themselves back in the game. I'll take any W's we can get, though.

Ericfollowedbyanumber
Ericfollowedbyanumber

I have no problem with the fake field goal. The Lions lost because the defense then allowed a 97 yard drive, because Stafford had 3 completions in the second half and missed his last 10 passes, and because the offense laid an egg in all of the other drives in the final 30 minutes.

RickEger
RickEger

@mwr5053 The Steeler secondary isn't horrible, they stuffed your loveable losers....btw how does it feel too go 0 and 16?

JubJub
JubJub

The word "retard" is no longer politically correct, but there are times when it is still perfectly appropriate. This certainly is one of those times.

Detroitabroad
Detroitabroad

@OK You are a sick jerk.  Your racism is pathetic and you are the problem not anyone else.  Go away and never come back you pathetic sick moron.


James C
James C

@Ericfollowedbyanumber I don't disagree with the reasons you state for them losing. We differ on the call though. Schwartz had to know the offense was struggling, and since they had given up what 23 points already, he had to know the defense wasn't at it's best. You have a chance to out your team in a position where an opponents TD and PAT only ties the game you take it. You always take the choice that assumes your opponent does the best they can to beat or tie you. In this case, going from 4 up to 7 up lessens the damage that can happen to you. Schwartz made the wrong choice and his players did not execute after that, which ultimately cost them the game. 

Ericfollowedbyanumber
Ericfollowedbyanumber

Just watched some more "highlights" (our power was out from the storm), and I can add that they lost because they forgot to tackle. Two of the Steelers' TDs came with ~40 yards of running after good initial contact.

shawnknight
shawnknight

@Ericfollowedbyanumber Really.  The Steelers had to march 97 yards and had to get at least 4 points in order to tie -- which means they needed a TD.  If a real Lions FG had happened instead, the Lions would have been ahead by 7 points -- and the Steelers would still have needed a TD, but they would have had a shorter field after a kickoff in which to get it.

If the Steelers had only responded with a FG, again, in either circumstance they'd be losing (by 1 or by 4), but again, they might have gotten their FG in less time with a shorter post-kickoff field and had more time to get the ball back and score again.

In either case, the Steelers still needed a TD but the fake FG meant they had a longer trip to go.  I'm a Steelers fan but I'm obviously missing something as to why the fake FG was such a terrible idea for the Lions.

Detroitabroad
Detroitabroad

@OK The White Quarterback set the Lions all time record in his 5th year.  Gee he must be a loser because he is white right?  How about this quote clown, “There’s really no bar that he can’t surpass at this point,” Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said of his quarterback this week. “The things he’s been able to do are obviously impressive, but who knows what it’s going to be? You got to have some luck along the way with being able to play for a number of years, but he’s only 25 years old and talking about some numbers that I’m not really aware of what they are and all that stuff, but there’s not too many people that can do what he’s done at this point in his career.”

OK
OK

@Detroitabroad

Yeah, the White Quarterback's 3-for-16 with a pick in the second half impressed the hell out of me.

Just like the White Quarterback throwing 10 straight incompletions to end the game and cost his team the victory.

Don't worry. Massah King will defend the White Quarterback; he always does. Massah King's a Cincinnati Boy.