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Lions’ coaches defend failed fake field goal

jimschwartz AP

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.

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43 Responses to “Lions’ coaches defend failed fake field goal”
  1. purpleguy says: Nov 18, 2013 6:24 PM

    I imagine the Steelers are thanking their lucky stars that coach Schwartz doesn’t coach like a fradey-cat.

  2. winorlose6burgh says: Nov 18, 2013 6:27 PM

    Best call ever!! Ain’t like the lions would have won anyways they got SHUT DOWN!

  3. conner87 says: Nov 18, 2013 6:28 PM

    He doesn’t coach scared, but at times he coaches like he has no idea what he’s doing…

  4. jimnaizeeum says: Nov 18, 2013 6:30 PM

    “I think when Jim Schwartz says he doesn’t coach scared, he means it,”

    Didn’t coach smart in that situation either.

  5. Ferdinand says: Nov 18, 2013 6:30 PM

    But what is their explanation for Schwartz’s childishness after the game? Oh, hell, all the time.

  6. groleo45 says: Nov 18, 2013 6:31 PM

    Not a huge fan of the call, but I thought the game was decided on two other plays. The third & long Pittsburgh got on the ensuing drive, and the Ross drop on second down following their score. Lions didn’t make the plays to win, simple as that.

  7. bsandersislegend20 says: Nov 18, 2013 6:33 PM

    Horrible call. Period. Take the damn 3pts. If Jim Schwartz loses his job this year it’ll be because of bone head calls like that.

  8. hyzers says: Nov 18, 2013 6:37 PM

    It actually would have been converted if he didn’t fumble. Don’t like the call but the punter needs to secure it when he’s running it up the gut.

    What hurt the most was Levy dropping 2 picks (would have been 7 on the year for him), one of which would have been a sure TD.

  9. The Great Ted Thompson the Genius says: Nov 18, 2013 6:37 PM

    There’s a fine line between fearless and foolish.

  10. thepftpoet says: Nov 18, 2013 6:39 PM

    Every team in the NFC north has beat the Steepers except the lions….

    EVEN the Vikings did….

  11. Stiller43 says: Nov 18, 2013 6:44 PM

    I dont think it was a bad call…you dont convert and the steelers offense (which had been stagnant much of the recent time in the game) would be backed up around their own 3 or 5 yd line…

    You dont know a) you wont make it and b) theyd go on a 97 yard drive

  12. All-American Voltron says: Nov 18, 2013 6:53 PM

    Very happy to see Jim Schwartz explain his coaching style and I approve wholeheartedly, and hope the Lions keep him around longer than they kept Matt Millen— signed Vikings, Packers, and Bears fans.

  13. packhawk04 says: Nov 18, 2013 6:53 PM

    The steelers offense had been stagnant… youre right. Which is EXACTLY why you take the three points and go up 7.

  14. thestrategyexpert says: Nov 18, 2013 6:54 PM

    Well they don’t spend enough time or quality time on the strategy stuff as they continue to miss out on obvious strategies that would enhance their position. And in this game again he had a major Timeout malfunction with about 3 minutes left.

  15. Deb says: Nov 18, 2013 6:56 PM

    It’s part of the fun for fans to second-guess coaches and play armchair quarterback. And I’ve been as critical as the next person when my coach has made–what seemed to me–a boneheaded call. But unless they just give up, the coaches don’t owe us any explanations or need to defend their calls. These guys work a lifetime to find themselves in a position only 31 other guys on earth have. As Herm Edwards said, they’re trying to win the game–and using their best judgment in the moment. We’re all geniuses in hindsight.

    For the last few years, Schwartz has had the Lions in contention. That’s more than his recent predecessors could do. If the play had worked, everyone would be singing his praises.

  16. lorddarkhelmet says: Nov 18, 2013 6:56 PM

    you are asking your rookie punter to run 15 yards in the pouring rain on a notoriously bad field. That’s called coaching dumb not coaching fearlessly. Particularly when that 3 points puts you up by a td

  17. jrs45 says: Nov 18, 2013 7:02 PM

    Coach Chud succeeded when he fake a fg for a TD. It’s all about execution. If they would’ve got it they would’ve praised him.

  18. 6ball says: Nov 18, 2013 7:04 PM

    .

    Kick the FG to give you a 7 point lead. Make the Steelers have to go the length of the field and score a touchdown in order to TIE.

    #coachingmalpractice

    .

  19. jfrancetic says: Nov 18, 2013 7:05 PM

    A pretty bad call IMO with very little chance of success. 4th and 5 at the 10. 5 yds is a pretty long way considering the defense is packed into a short field. If the ball was at the 30 or 35, or there were only 1-2 yds to go, it might have been a worthwhile gamble.

  20. sammyias says: Nov 18, 2013 7:08 PM

    7 point lead wouldn’t be good enough?

    Does this mean the Lions will go for 2 on the first drive of the game?

    It was a bad call, just say so. Own your mistakes, that way your players will as well.

  21. thingamajig says: Nov 18, 2013 7:08 PM

    Doesn’t coach scared? He was scared to death that his crummy defense, especially the secondary, needed more then 7 points to hold off the Steelers from winning the game.

  22. thegreatgabbert says: Nov 18, 2013 7:18 PM

    Not as well as the Steelers defended the fake field goal attempt.

  23. otis52gsh says: Nov 18, 2013 7:23 PM

    I really hope he never gets fired. I love that the NFC North is really just a three team race consistently. The loins will get to the playoffs every 20 years or so. That’s about all they amount too year in and year out. Joke of the league.

  24. rodh32340 says: Nov 18, 2013 7:25 PM

    He coaches like he is gambling with the house’s money…if you feel that you’ll make the playoffs anyway regardless ofvwhat your W-L record is then by all means, go all in!

  25. ivanpavlov0000 says: Nov 18, 2013 7:26 PM

    I just looked up the play. It was a 4th and 5. Had the Detroit kicker not fumbled, it’s a first down. There’s a question about whether a rookie kicker should be allowed to try this in slick weather, but no guts no glory.

    This play is kind of like Stafford’s lunge to beat the Bears. He’s a hero if it works and a goat if he fails.

    From what I saw of that game there were so many dropped passes and blown coverages that all of the Detroit players can take blame for this loss.

  26. mogogo1 says: Nov 18, 2013 7:31 PM

    Probably the worst situation to try that imaginable. They were scoreless for the half, but with the sure field goal they’re still up 7 in the fourth against a team who has struggled all year. This was not like some crazy high scoring game where you know 3 won’t cut it.

    When you’re the better team, you shouldn’t need to roll the dice like that. His gambling increased the likelihood of the Steelers winning.

  27. psmith7716 says: Nov 18, 2013 7:31 PM

    The Steelers went 97 yards to score. 97 yards! Blame the Lions defense, not the stupid fake field goal attempt.

  28. thetruthcampaign says: Nov 18, 2013 7:33 PM

    In 9th grade, I was playing third base. The pitcher and I came up with a sign for me to call a pick off at third if ever I had a runner there. Late in the game, I finally had a runner. I wanted some action. I made the sign. He threw me the ball, and it went right through my legs. Run scored. Coach called us idiots. But, you can’t say we were scared.

  29. mantastic54 says: Nov 18, 2013 7:34 PM

    It cost them 3 points in a game they lost by 10. Not sure why everyone made such a big deal of the call, if they kick the fg they still lose

  30. Deb says: Nov 18, 2013 7:35 PM

    @tory707 …

    Not denying the recklessness of his behavior. Just remembering I’ve driven that speed myself in the past never imagining in a million years that I could kill myself or anyone else. We’ve all done stupid, reckless things in our lives. It’s not in me to judge someone so harshly when there but by the grace of God …

  31. Deb says: Nov 18, 2013 7:36 PM

    Oops, moderators … wrong thread.

  32. mogogo1 says: Nov 18, 2013 7:41 PM

    hyzers says:

    It actually would have been converted if he didn’t fumble. Don’t like the call but the punter needs to secure it when he’s running it up the gut.
    _______

    And if he’s tackled short because he was running the whole time with two hands wrapped around the ball? I don’t think you can blame the punter because he’s not on that team to be a ball carrier. Part of calling a fake like that is realizing the odds of a fumble or other mistake go up. If it fails, it’s on the coach because that was a known risk of the call.

  33. 10of14 says: Nov 18, 2013 7:41 PM

    Love those of you from the Bears, Vikings and Packers talking crap. Last time I looked, the Lions are still in first place and especially you Bears fans…geez, you lost two to the Lions this year…you have NO room to talk…shut it down already Bear fan!

  34. 10of14 says: Nov 18, 2013 7:44 PM

    Right on Ivan; love the call and if it worked, they would be calling Coach a ballsy hero today. The holder is a wuss and needs to take some “tough” lessons along the way. You have to know that you are going to get hit hard…don’t fumble!!! As for Bears Fan…I suggest you shut it down pal…you got punked by the Lions twice this year.

  35. bobzilla1001 says: Nov 18, 2013 7:55 PM

    Forget the fake.
    Schwartz ought to be held accountable for his play-calling right before halftime: At the goal line, he used an empty backfield and a five-wide formation. On the goal-line.
    Stafford then threw three of the worst passes in the history of history. Had the Lions punched it in there, they would’ve taken a 31-20 lead into halftime.
    An 11-point lead at that point would’ve been demoralizing. Instead, settling for a field goal allowed the Steelers to be down by just 7 and still in the game.
    The rest is history.

  36. thetruthcampaign says: Nov 18, 2013 8:08 PM

    Yeah, a lot more went wrong than a bad and flubbed play call.

  37. lionsfansince1976 says: Nov 18, 2013 8:17 PM

    Jim Schwartz < Forrest Gump

    4th and 5 from the 10 and you call a fake punt with a rookie punter who is slower than my 90 year old grandma. Sorry Jimmy but if you want to be aggressive, why not put your 2 best players on the field in Stafford and Megatron and try for the 5 yards?

    BTW to respond to the posters above, he was hit and went down at the 7 so he was 2 yards short. The ball rolled forward and was recovered at the 3 yard line.

    Also Jimmy, if you are so aggressive, how come you don't go for 2 points after you score every TD?

    You may not coach scared Jimmy but you sure do coach stupid.

  38. higgy5353 says: Nov 18, 2013 8:31 PM

    I’m a Bears fan so you know I’m not taking the side of anybody on here but I like that they went for it. If they would have scored then everybody would be saying it was a great decision. You have to coach aggressive! BEARDOWN!

  39. winorlose6burgh says: Nov 18, 2013 9:09 PM

    1955 enough said LOL

  40. zeeman911 says: Nov 18, 2013 9:45 PM

    What about all those times you run the clock out at half time with 3 timeouts???? Idiot!

  41. jonsilver1947 says: Nov 19, 2013 1:45 AM

    True statements:
    -a 10 point lead is better than a 7 point lead;
    -field goal attempts at Heinz are risky propositions, especially in wind and rain;
    -five yards is a long way to run for a holder in a fake field goal play;
    -instead of a run, a pass by the holder from a field goal formation has a better chance of success at that distance, but wind & rain make that problematic, too;
    -we don’t know whether Martin can throw an accurate pass.

    Conclusion: no high probability of success for run or pass from fake field goal formation given yardage & conditions; successful kick not certain, either. Therefore, no clearcut successful strategic choice, except in hindsight.

  42. jonsilver1947 says: Nov 19, 2013 1:48 AM

    Correction: 11 is better than 7

  43. dtownsportslions says: Nov 19, 2013 2:51 AM

    Freaking Lions. Can never make it easy now can ya. Lets win these next 2 and put a stranglehold on the division. Forward Down the Field! I believe.

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