Now I’ve heard everything: The Detroit Lions are being accused of running up the score on a hapless opponent.
With less than 10 minutes to play in a game the Lions would win 44-6, Detroit called for a trick play, with running back Jahvid Best throwing a pass. The pass fell incomplete, but Lions coach Jim Schwartz has been asked this week whether calling it was an attempt by the Lions to humiliate the Rams.
Schwartz says that as long as the Rams were still playing hard (“I didn’t see any white flags being waved on their sideline”) the Lions were going to keep playing hard, too.
“Well, I’ve been trying to get that called for about four weeks now,” Schwartz said on WXYT-FM, per the Detroit Free Press. “We’ve run it a bunch in training camp and things like that, and it was on our must-call list in this game. A lot of times when you do get a lead in a game it gives you an opportunity to freewheel a little bit to set some things up for the future. We have run that toss-sweep a bunch of times with Jahvid Best and teams were cheating on it. Teams were attacking and disregarding the coverage and if we want to keep running that play, keep being effective, we need to keep them honest.”
If this were high school football, I’d say that considering the feelings of overmatched opponents is a valid concern, and a coach shouldn’t call a trick play with his team leading by four touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
But in the NFL it’s different. If Schwartz thinks calling for Best to throw a pass will keep future opponents honest when Best has the ball, then the Lions were right to call it. Even if they didn’t need it to beat the Rams on Sunday.