Skip to content

Jim Schwartz takes heat for Lions collapse

Lions coach Jim Schwartz was due.  You can only lose for a year and a half before the natives start getting restless and you start getting criticized like the previous four Lions coaches since Wayne Fontes left town.

(Fontes finished his Lions career at 66-67, which qualifies him for Sainthood in Detroit.)

The headline on MLive.com: “Schwartz conjuries memories of Marty Mornhinweg, Bobby Ross with third-down pass.”

The call in question was a bootleg throw on third-and-six by Drew Stanton to fullback Jerome Felton with just under two minutes left.   If the Lions just ran the ball, the Jets would received a punt down by three points with around 1:15 left instead of 1:54 left in the game.

“That’s my fault,” Schwartz said. “I didn’t do a good enough job. Looking back on that, [we shouldn't] even give him the option to pass.  Drew didn’t want to take lost yardage on that play, and I did a poor job communicating that with him. I told him, ‘If it’s not there, eat it and run it.’”

Stanton is a pro quarterback in his fourth season.  The play
wasn’t there.  It wasn’t even close to being there and the Lions wouldn’t have picked up a first down if complete.  Throwing that pass is worse than voluntarily going out of bounds, and we blame that mistake on the player. 

Stanton clearly isn’t that trustworthy to make good decisions.  But this was easy.  We’ll admit perhaps the bootleg was too predictable.

“We were making sure we were alert for the boot,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said.

But we can’t completely eviscerate Schwartz for the play call because he was trying to win the game.

“If we get a first down there, we win the game and take a knee after that,” Schwartz said.  “So there’s risk reward in that.”

There’s no rule that says the Lions can’t stop the Jets in the two minute drill or in overtime.   And there’s certainly no rule that says the Jets couldn’t have tied the game anyway without the extra time. (In fact, the Jets were already in field goal range with 40 seconds left.)

It was a crushing loss, made so much worse because of quarterback Matthew Stafford’s injury.  (Not to mention kicker Jason Hanson.)  Schwartz deserves credit for having a Lions team ready to dominate big, bad Jets for 55 minutes.

Playing not to lose because you don’t trust your players is what old Lions coaches would have done.

Permalink 54 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Detroit Lions, New York Jets, Rumor Mill, Sprint Football Live - Rumors, Top Stories
54 Responses to “Jim Schwartz takes heat for Lions collapse”
  1. G-man says: Nov 8, 2010 9:40 AM

    Look–I’m a Lions fan and I wanted them to win more than anything yesterday, but that was an ATROCIOUS call. If they run the ball the game clock runs down to 1:00. That’s a ton of pressure on an offense with no timeouts left.
    40 seconds is an eternity at the end of a game. It was a bad play call and cost Detroit the game.
    As much as I want to back Schwartz, he continually makes mistakes like this that show he doesn’t quite have the ability to grasp the responsibilities of the head coaching job. His time management is awful and the team’s 2-minute drill is non-existent. He really needs to step it up because he’s costing this team wins.

  2. bamalion3 says: Nov 8, 2010 9:43 AM

    Kudos to Schwartzy. He is the best damn coach the Lions have had. (Fontes had Barry so I don’t wanna hear it.) Schwartz inherited a team FULL of 3rd stringers just a little over a year ago.
    It feels like the beat writers in Detroit take out the city’s economic frustration on the Lions. They are always so negative.
    Lets look at the positive. Schwartz had the Lions in a position to win this game and I would put that boot play on Stanton. He should know better. Linehan called a great game. He had Burleson man-to-man all game and he exposed Cromartie. (Which is why Calvin was only targeted 4 times-not because Revis did such a great job). The Detroit Lions outplayed arguably the best team in the NFL. Do the Lions have work to do? Yes. Should you be calling for the coaches head? No.

  3. louie50 says: Nov 8, 2010 9:44 AM

    as I watched that I was shell shocked, they gave the win to the Jets on a platter

  4. KaiNoKea says: Nov 8, 2010 9:45 AM

    Jim Schwartz was channeling his inner Herm Edwards.

  5. rdrdrs58 says: Nov 8, 2010 9:48 AM

    I hear what Schwartz is saying, the he should of told Stanton to eat it and run, but SHOULD he have to tell and NFL QB what to do in that situation?? I mean, c’mon… You’re a QB in the NFL… and you don’t know the situation? I put that one on Stanton… he HAS to know what’s going on at that point… no excuse for it.

  6. Nevisyakker says: Nov 8, 2010 9:48 AM

    The Lions have played well enough to win at least 3 more games this year, and I don’t buy it being the coach’s fault. Some teams find a way to win and some teams find a way to lose. Obviously the Lions are with the later group for now but that can change quickly. They have the talent and a good head coach they just need to put together a couple of Ws and get the right mind set going.
    The Lions right now are not on anyone’s list of teams they look forward to playing.

  7. jpyetman says: Nov 8, 2010 9:50 AM

    If this is the case, Stanton should be CUT by the end of the day.
    You’re some scrub MState QB and you come in and throw that pass that would have netted zero yards even if complete…. rather than take the sack?
    You don’t have the brains to be a pro
    Cut him lose

  8. simple_simon1 says: Nov 8, 2010 9:52 AM

    I like Schwartz but that was simply an awful call. A third string QB in the game. The defense completely gassed. The ability to run out almost half the time and not taking it. Bad call, period.

  9. east96st says: Nov 8, 2010 9:52 AM

    Might have made sense to go for the two point conversation, as well. I’m not saying it wasn’t entertaining seeing Suh trying the extra point, but it didn’t give them their best chance to win. If Detroit makes the two point conversation, Stanton isn’t trying desperately to make a first down.

  10. Citizen Strange says: Nov 8, 2010 9:56 AM

    It amazes me that someone who makes his living at football would make that decision.
    You could pull any random man or woman off the street with only a vaguely passing knowledge of football and they would say “In that situation you should run it and take the time off the clock.”
    Once again this supports my theory that coaches are really just dumb jocks with a whistle.

  11. florio4prez says: Nov 8, 2010 9:58 AM

    There are very few franchises in the NFL that could have lost a game given the circumstances in the final few minutes of regulation. The Lions and the Cardinals lead that class.
    On, looky here. They both did it on the same day. Imagine that.

  12. pt8106 says: Nov 8, 2010 9:59 AM

    Maybe there should have been a better play called but if Peterson hadn’t given them 15 yards by hitting LT out of bounds, it probably wouldn’t have mattered because they wouldn’t have tied the game.

  13. detnflfan says: Nov 8, 2010 10:00 AM

    Typical Lions. They blow a late lead and lose a game they should have won. The late hit out of bounds by Julian Peterson just before OT really stood out for me. A dumb penalty that went on to cost the Lions the game. Also, that decision to throw on third down. Schwartz unfortunately will be joining the ranks of Fontes, Morningweg, and the like

  14. tedskro says: Nov 8, 2010 10:05 AM

    Schwartz the call came three plays too late call that bootleg on first down I almost guarantee your taking a knee they called a run blitz up the middle on first down it was their opportunity to trick them but they decided to run an iso instead.
    The moment Stafford went down was when the wind went out of the sail for both offense and defense. He is the heart of the team and they obviously thrive off of his energy, but these injuries are getting ridiculous

  15. reo says: Nov 8, 2010 10:05 AM

    “Playing not to lose because you don’t trust your players is what old Lions coaches would have done.”
    That’s exactly what they did. Schwartz sent a big message to his defense that he didn’t trust them to hold the Jets.

  16. Jimmy says: Nov 8, 2010 10:12 AM

    And I understand dropping back for a pass play to try to win the game. If we get a first down, it’s over. But the offense was visibly in the tank after they watched Stafford leave the game. Not to mention the QB replacing him was an ice cold third stringer. Any sane coach would have called a run play in that situation. It’s one thing to be aggressive, but not with Drew Stanton ice cold off the bench. Take a knee for god’s sake. It meant the game.

  17. spar says: Nov 8, 2010 10:12 AM

    The call was poor, but I can sort of understand passing – risky, but you’re trying to win. However, the specific play chosen was really poor, the pass was bad, and the QB completely failed in understanding the situation. Yes, the Jets got to near FG range in 40 seconds, but with the extra time Sanchez didn’t have to operate in full panic mode.
    The real problem is, it allows Ryan to keep braying.

  18. spartyfi says: Nov 8, 2010 10:18 AM

    Thanks for this article. I believe it was the right call in the situation. It’s a high % pass play and the QB (the one actually playing the game) needs to be smarter and this is coming from a Sparty. Stanton messed that up. This is the NFL, not peewee football. Yes, they could easily have ran it, but Stanton could easily have taken the sack and been done with it, or ran away from the 2 defenders coming at him and wasting another 5 seconds before going down. It was just a boneheaded play by the QB and I won’t put that on the coaches, particularly if they stressed that he should take the loss if nothings there.
    I will say, what I liked about this loss is that it’s Monday and I still care and am still upset about it. That doesn’t happen much to us Lion’s fans so, I’m learning to cope and am optimistic by the fact that I’m still upset. For whatever that’s worth!

  19. JetLove214 says: Nov 8, 2010 10:19 AM

    @ bamalion3
    Nate Burlson was matched on Drew Coleman not cromarte, but it was a tough game that was hard fought.
    Was their safeties roled to Calvins side, of course this is a top 3 WR you would be crazy not to. You have to give Revis his props. Good game though

  20. LiberalGuilt says: Nov 8, 2010 10:22 AM

    Schwartz is taking the heat off his guy. It’s that simple. He says he should have done a better job of articulating his desire to take the sack rather than stop the clock, but c’mon guys. How are you a quarterback playing in the NFL who doesn’t realize that lost yardage is a better option? If anything he should be criticized for giving an idiot like Stanton the opportunity to make that call for himself, but Schwartz is a ballsy coach. Peterson’s late hit out of bounds was as dumb a play too, but ultimately Detroit lost because Stafford went out. If he’s in the game, they convert that first down. Or at least they milk the clock.
    And as for any comparisons to his predecessors in Detroit, I’ve watched every Lions game since DirecTV began offering Sunday Ticket. There’s absolutely no comparison. They’re a much better coached and better prepared team than they have been in more than a decade. This loss only hurts as a fan because you can watch the Lions every Sunday now and see how close they are to being a playoff-quality team.

  21. HomoforRomo says: Nov 8, 2010 10:25 AM

    It wouldn’t have mattered if he had not allowed Suh to try the extra point- surely the punter would have been a better option. That one point made the difference, and it should have been taken more seriously than it obviously was at the time. Suh probably kicks them in practice for laughs and someone thought it would be funny, but in the end it cost them the game.

  22. Kris says: Nov 8, 2010 10:26 AM

    I’m okay with the play… but it had no chance, the Jets covered it. Stanton should know not to even make that pass… take the sack and let the clock run.

  23. Darren says: Nov 8, 2010 10:29 AM

    The Lions had the game in hand and gave it away. Julian Peterson’s stupid penalty, along with Stanton NOT running with the ball, to run off some time, were killers. However, the missed extra point by Suh (after Hanson got hurt) was the kicker. It would’ve made the Jets score a TD instead of a FG.

  24. Bubby Brister says: Nov 8, 2010 10:30 AM

    Come on. If that play works, everybody’s praising him for being a ballsy young coach. If it’s Bill Belichick, it’s “okay that was stupid, but I can see the genius in it”.
    Let’s be real here. The Lions aren’t going to the playoffs this year. Plain and simple. Schwartz had the league’s most hyped team by the neck, and the kill was a first down away. I commend him for it.
    In Bill Cowher’s first year with the Steelers, they were losing a game to the Oilers (the Jets of their time) pretty badly. Down a couple possessions, Cowher called a fake punt. It worked, and the Steelers ended up coming back and winning. It was probably the moment Cowher officially “arrived” in Pittsburgh and it’s what launched the Steelers into being contenders all throughout the 90′s, after being so mediocre through the 80′s.
    My point is, Schwartz was trying to separate himself from Marinelli, Morninwheg, etc., and frankly, I don’t see a damn thing wrong with it. I really like the direction he has that team headed and it would be stupid to compare him to those guys because of one call.

  25. FinFan6886 says: Nov 8, 2010 10:36 AM

    This Lions team has talent…and so does this coach. It is easy to nitpick after the fact and then it is only about stuff that did not work out. Sure, that was an ill-advised decision by the 3rd string QB. The coaches put the team in the best possible position to win the game. Any play call that does not work can be criticized and that is simply a lazy analysis. The biggest impact play was the ridiculous hit out of bounds. That is a mental mistake that needs to be corrected…slow process but there are less of these than before. The Lions will be a very good team for a long time once they turn the corner. Stafford could be great but not if his arm is in a sling for 1/2 the season. Get him healed COMPLETELY before he gets back on the field.

  26. realitypolice says: Nov 8, 2010 10:37 AM

    reo says:
    November 8, 2010 10:05 AM
    “Playing not to lose because you don’t trust your players is what old Lions coaches would have done.”
    That’s exactly what they did. Schwartz sent a big message to his defense that he didn’t trust them to hold the Jets.
    =================
    Yes of course. You don’t want to try and run out the clock because that might send the wrong message to the defense. You should throw on every down, clock be damned, to ensure that the confidence level of your defense remains high.
    I’m sure if you ask the Detroit defense, they would have been very happy to go back on the field with 1:15 left instead of 1:54.

  27. Sneki says: Nov 8, 2010 10:39 AM

    jpyetman: You can’t cut Stanton…he’s probably our only healthy quarterback for next week.
    Bad call on the play, but we had plenty of other chances to win this game.
    Also, I still hate the NFL overtime rules. One bad play in OT and it’s all over.

  28. D wins games says: Nov 8, 2010 10:44 AM

    I can see making the call if you have Brady/Manning/Brees as your QB, but to put it on your 3rd string QB who just came in the game is ridiculous. They only needed 6 for the 1st, so run a reverse or a naked boot if you must, but don’t increase the other team’s time left by that much. Just ridiculous….

  29. Marty says: Nov 8, 2010 10:49 AM

    I am not a Lions fan, but if you could buy and sell teams like stocks, and if I wanted to buy low and sell high, I would definitely buy the Lions. I think they are pointed in the right direction and have some great young talent. They are going to turn this around and get going in the right direction, no doubt about it.

  30. lars thorwald says: Nov 8, 2010 10:51 AM

    Having lost their kicker and starting QB figured into equation, but Julian Peterson’s late hit out of bounds was the big bonehead play. Schwartz has done a good job making an atrocious team competitive.

  31. Jimmy says: Nov 8, 2010 10:56 AM

    On the radio this morning in Detroit, they played an audio clip from Schwartz about Suh’s extra point try. Somewhere in there I heard “Suh’s a good kicker.”
    It’s just like Lions coaches to screw up royally and then after the game tell everyone how cleverly things should have worked. It’s bad enough your DT missed an extra point, but then you rub it in by saying he’s a good kicker. What game was he watching?

  32. GreenAsGrass says: Nov 8, 2010 11:02 AM

    bamalion3
    Only problem is that Cromartie was covering B. Johnson, Revis on Megatron and 3rd guy Coleman had Burleson, who lit him up all day.
    At some point the Jets probably should have moved Revis to Burleson, Cro on Megatron but then you still have Coleman exposed. Lions have a lot of heart.
    You must give Revis props, Stafford hardly looked at CJ after Revis broke up pass in 1st Quarter.

  33. zleep says: Nov 8, 2010 11:02 AM

    People forget Martz made this team 7-9 just three seasons ago, with even worse personnel than what they’ve got now. Led by a QB who is 2nd string on the worst team in the league this year, Dallas.

  34. redscare says: Nov 8, 2010 11:05 AM

    It seems crazy, and so was the Suh extra point – is having him kick really a higher-percentage play than the two-point conversion?
    The one good thing about this nonsense is that it’s better than simply being timid and always playing it safe. I think that a little of this type of thing can pry a team out of setting its sights too low, and get them excited that anything is possible.
    But it has to be done in measure, and they’ve done enough of it now. With Stafford/Hill in place, they’re a dangerous team that can play with anyone in the league, and they’ll probably get even better after the draft. They’ve established a new level. Now it’s time for Schwartz to switch to hard-nose, strictly-business mode and hammer out whatever they can for the rest of the season.
    The team’s better than they’ve been in decades. Take a step back, spend some time getting the basics back in order, end the season well, and plan big for 2011.

  35. Codebeard says: Nov 8, 2010 11:13 AM

    rdrdrs58 says:
    November 8, 2010 9:48 AM
    I hear what Schwartz is saying, the he should of told Stanton to eat it and run, but SHOULD he have to tell and NFL QB what to do in that situation?? I mean, c’mon… You’re a QB in the NFL… and you don’t know the situation? I put that one on Stanton… he HAS to know what’s going on at that point… no excuse for it.
    ===
    Read it again. Schwartz DID say that he should just run if it’s not there. What he regrets is even making the pass an option.
    reo says:
    November 8, 2010 10:05 AM
    “Playing not to lose because you don’t trust your players is what old Lions coaches would have done.”
    That’s exactly what they did. Schwartz sent a big message to his defense that he didn’t trust them to hold the Jets.
    ===
    OR his message said, “I believe my offense can get 6 yards to cinch the game, and if not I belive my defense can stop the Jets with 1:30 left.”

  36. Clyde2010 says: Nov 8, 2010 11:30 AM

    Coaching Accountability- Schwartz did NOT take accountability. His answer of “it’s my fault that I wasn’t clear enough”, and then the continuous throwing of player after player under the bus is NOT accountability. It’s duplicitous. Not once has Schwartz addressed his prevent defense calls, his lack of blitzing, his poor use of timeouts, in any game. And there’s no way this team will ever win consistently until Schwartz addresses his own accountability, leading the players to address theirs……
    And for you Schwartz o-philes who say “we’re competetive, we’re close” say your thank you’s to the GM. The talent on the field has improved, the coaching has not. It’s the same old blame someone else for not listening to you bs we’ve seen for years……..

  37. Snydermustgo says: Nov 8, 2010 11:46 AM

    What about the moron who committed the late hit personal foul? He is almost as guilty as Stanton/Schwartz.

  38. justlionaround says: Nov 8, 2010 11:50 AM

    For all of you that are commending Schwartz for the job he has done (and will continue to do) and taking the heat for Stanton’s (I wouldn’t be in the NFL if not for Millen) extremely suspect mental acuity at the QB position, I’m on your team.
    For the rest, who like nothing better than to steer to the negative side of everything, get back on the short bus that you’re riding through your apparently miserable lives and take it to the bandwagon of whatever team you seem to think does things the right way all of the time.
    To put it another way – simply stop watching the Lions if they’re going to get your panties in a twist everytime they lose.

  39. klungemonger says: Nov 8, 2010 11:53 AM

    I was at the game, it was very deflating for Lions fans yesterday. We saw what kind of team they are capable of being, then we were painfully reminded of the kind of team they’ve been for years.
    They don’t need to “learn how to win.” They had this game totally in the bag…they need to learn how NOT TO LOSE!

  40. texasPHINSfan says: Nov 8, 2010 11:59 AM

    I watched the game and don’t blame Schwartz for that. Stanton made the error.
    Kudos to Schwartz for playing to win, by the way.

  41. HolyMoly says: Nov 8, 2010 12:05 PM

    That was the most absurd decision I’ve seen in a while. Even worse than anything I’ve seen Wade Phillips do all year. If they had crafted a good run play, they might have even picked up the first down and the game would have ended. The way that unfolded was just awful.

  42. KaoTiX10 says: Nov 8, 2010 12:22 PM

    i have more faith in our defense for 1:15 than i do with our 3rd QB making 1 first down. this is not the first mistake he has made this year. we are also the most penalized team in detroit. a clear reflection of the coach

  43. FireSchwartz says: Nov 8, 2010 12:28 PM

    Schwartz should be fired before his 3PM depresser where he will just make more excuses for his lousy coaching. Schwartz admitted he wasn’t a good coach and that should be grounds for firing. The Lions should look elsewhere at QB and find a head coach who can manage a game clock.

  44. Bious says: Nov 8, 2010 1:00 PM

    It wasnt as stupid a playcall as people think
    They need to get a 1st down and there was quite a bit of time left anyway

  45. tom coughlin's coat holder says: Nov 8, 2010 1:07 PM

    for all the people on here that are bitching about schwartz,calm down.all right the guy may have made a mistake,what do you want to do to him?hang him in effigy?god,coaches make mistakes,so be it.
    schwartz has got the ball moving in the right direction.do any of you lions fans want any of the failed administrations back?hell no!!!leave the guy alone and let him do his job.no one can accuse him of not having his team ready to play on any given sunday,and they play hard.
    schwartz is a good coach,period.

  46. reo says: Nov 8, 2010 1:14 PM

    “Yes of course. You don’t want to try and run out the clock because that might send the wrong message to the defense. You should throw on every down, clock be damned, to ensure that the confidence level of your defense remains high.
    I’m sure if you ask the Detroit defense, they would have been very happy to go back on the field with 1:15 left instead of 1:54.”
    ummm… you do know I was bashing the call right?

  47. DTMB says: Nov 8, 2010 1:18 PM

    If you were going for the first down to end the game, it just seemed like the perfect opportunity to try the Best HB pitch/option they tried when we ran the score up on STL. It’s a run, kills clock, and it has the POTENTIAL to get the first. I called it before the play, especially since Can’t-on was in the huddle. It would have been a win-win call. No option to pass, run and the clock continues. They over pursue and WR/TE open, first down game over. Bad call to make a cold, untalented QB do a bootleg.

  48. DTMB says: Nov 8, 2010 1:19 PM

    If you were going for the first down to end the game, it just seemed like the perfect opportunity to try the Best HB pitch/option they tried when we ran the score up on STL. It’s a run, kills clock, and it has the POTENTIAL to get the first. I called it before the play, especially since Can’t-on was in the huddle. It would have been a win-win call. No option to pass, run and the clock continues. They over pursue and WR/TE open, first down game over. Bad call to make a cold, untalented QB do a bootleg.

  49. florio4prez says: Nov 8, 2010 1:38 PM

    I have a beautiful Sony TV. It’s great to watch when it works. My buddy owns a Jeep. It’s a blast when it’s running well. Problem for both of us is that they seem to be in the repair shops more often than not.
    The Lions are a reasonably respectable team when Stafford is playing. They are just plain ugly to watch when he is not. And he’s usually not.
    Stanton is a pathetic QB. Schwartz should NOT have put him in a position to have to complete that pass. Some HC’s just don’t understand risk or game management. Those who don’t are usually losers.
    Agreed, that game in effect means nothing (other than draft order) to the Lions. It was howver HUGE for the Jets and all of the AFC would-be playoff teams. Fans of the latter HATE losers like the Lions for NOT pulling the upset. It was there for the taking, if ONLY your HC could manage a game down the stretch.

  50. dirty ernie says: Nov 8, 2010 2:00 PM

    Jim Schwartz has a team of first round draft picks. The previous records should mean nothing. He inherited a talented team that due to inability to coach is going nowhere.
    This time its not the players, yes they have dumb assess still on the team but the one responsible for them is the head coach.
    His problem is he’s only coaching the players who play. The ones who come in as replacements are poorly coached and make a lot of mistakes.

  51. Easy Ed says: Nov 8, 2010 2:03 PM

    Schwartz inherited complete unadulterated garbage when he took the job –garbage players put together by a garbage GM and led by a garbage coach in Marinelli — and has made them competitive.
    Bad decision/communications/whatever by Schwartz, fair enough, but at least he’s not Marinelli, Not-Much Mooch or Marty Moronweg.

  52. dirty ernie says: Nov 8, 2010 2:06 PM

    Why didn’t they go with the first round pick Best on that play? Because he stinks up the joint as much as Stanton.
    Best wouldn’t have been a solid fifth round pick let alone first. They’re were reasons he was available. Unfortunatley the lions spent little time figuring out what other teams already knew.
    Schwartz isn’t the answer. He wants to be Mr Nice guy and it ain’t working. He can’t weed out the bad players, they have a team full of them.

  53. Patrick says: Nov 8, 2010 5:26 PM

    Tough loss ….getting better though….

  54. simple_simon1 says: Nov 9, 2010 12:42 AM

    dirty ernie:
    You’re a tool….Plain and simple

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!