Lions coach Jim Schwartz made an odd decision to throw a challenge flag on Sunday against the Eagles, arguing that a Michael Vick incompletion had actually been a backward pass, making it a fumble. The officials ruled it a forward pass in real time and the replay review made it clear that was the right call, and it was surprising that Schwartz even challenged it because there was really no angle at all that made it look like a fumble.
But Schwartz said after the game that he thinks that challenge helped the Lions.
According to Schwartz, the delay for the replay review helped the Lions’ defense regroup at the end of a rough series, and was one of the reasons that the Lions held the Eagles (who had second-and-goal from the 3-yard line) to a field goal.
“They sort of had us on our heels,” Schwartz said. “It was one of those basketball-type timeouts.”
It worked for the Lions on Sunday, although it’s easy to envision a scenario in which the Lions would have needed that timeout late in the fourth quarter of a game they came back to tie and then win in overtime. Losing a challenge worked out for Schwartz this time, but he probably shouldn’t make a habit of it.