The Lions could have taken a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter on Sunday in Pittsburgh with a chip shot field goal, but instead they tried a fake. It didn’t work: Lions punter and holder Sam Martin was hit short of the line to gain and fumbled on the fake attempt, and the Steelers took over and promptly marched down the field for the go-ahead score.
But don’t try to tell the Lions’ coaching staff that the fake field goal was a mistake. Lions head coach Jim Schwartz insisted that the call was proof that his team isn’t afraid to be aggressive, and special teams coordinator John Bonamego said he loves having a boss who’s willing to be bold.
“I think when Jim Schwartz says he doesn’t coach scared, he means it,” Bonamego told the teams’ website. “I, for one, really respect him for that. We spend hours upon hours in here looking to find that slight edge, wherever it might be. You know it’s not time invested in vain because we know when we bring him something — as long as it’s sound — and we invest practice time and meeting time installing it, then it’s got a legitimate shot of getting called in the game.”
Both Schwartz and Bonamego said the problem with the fake field goal was not the call, but the execution. Of course, part of a coach’s job when making a call like that is knowing whether or not his players are capable of executing the play properly. And this play for the Lions was a mess.