Refs’ bad calls overshadowed Caldwell’s bad call

AP

The officials weren’t the only ones who made a bad call that cost the Lions dearly on Sunday in Dallas.

Obviously, the bad call that went against the Lions on a third-and-1 incompletion was huge: Not only did the officials miss Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens blatantly grabbing the jersey of Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew, but they then picked up the penalty flag that was correctly thrown on Hitchens for making contact with Pettigrew before the ball arrived. Then the officials didn’t flag Dez Bryant for unsportsmanlike conduct even though he ran off the bench and onto the field to complain about the flag thrown on Hitchens.

Let’s stipulate that if any one of those three penalties — the defensive holding, the pass interference or the unsportsmanlike conduct — had been called, the Lions would have had a first down in field goal range and would have been in great shape to win the game.

But let’s also acknowledge this: Even after the blown calls, the Lions had every opportunity to win that game. After the incomplete pass to Pettigrew, the Lions still had a three-point lead, and the Lions still the ball in Cowboys territory with 8:25 left in the fourth quarter.

The next play was fourth-and-1, and after the Lions took a delay of game penalty while trying to draw the Cowboys offside, Lions head coach Jim Caldwell sent in punter Sam Martin. The punt was a 10-yard shank that gave the Cowboys great field position, and the Cowboys used their great field position to march down the field and score the winning touchdown.

So why did Caldwell punt instead of going for it?

“Thought about [going for] it, and obviously, when you look at the result of the punt, you look at it a little bit differently, but that’s the benefit of the result,” Caldwell said. “But we thought about it in that situation. But we were up; we weren’t behind. If we were behind, a little bit different, depending on what kind of time was left on the clock.”

That explanation doesn’t make a lot of sense. Yes, you were up, but who says you should punt when you’re up? Shouldn’t you try to keep the ball to protect your lead? And shouldn’t you trust your offense to gain one yard?

Caldwell’s refusal to go for it on fourth down is all the more surprising because he wasn’t shy about going for it on fourth downs during the regular season. The Lions went for it on fourth down 20 times during the regular season, the second-most of any team in the league, and picked up first downs 10 times, also second-most in the league.

Of course, Caldwell didn’t know Martin would shank the punt, but Caldwell absolutely did know that the Lions’ special teams have been a mess all season, and he should have been prepared for the possibility that punting would not turn out well. Just last week against the Packers, the Lions gave up a punt return for a touchdown. Punting isn’t always the safe choice.

And in this game punting wasn’t the right choice. One reason the Lions lost is that the officials screwed up. Another reason the Lions lost is that Caldwell didn’t trust his offense to gain one yard.

142 responses to “Refs’ bad calls overshadowed Caldwell’s bad call

  1. Don’t think the call was bad. I see it from both ends. His defense was getting to Romo and his hope was that with the ball around mid-field his punter could at least pin them inside the 20.

    Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

  2. video clearly shows the lions player grabbing a facemask.

    you haters need to stop crying about the call that was picked up.

    had the refs bailed out a horribly under thrown ball, and allowed the receiver that was yanking on a face mask to get a first down, that would of been a travesty of epic proportions.

    now Dallas, at 12-4 has to go visit Green Bay, also 12-4

    Dallas was 5-1 against the same teams Green Bay faced, and Green Bay was 3-3 in those games.

    the tie breaker scenarios are stupid. Green Bay is rewarded for having the bears and vikings in their division.

  3. Dallas hadn’t done crap the whole second half and Detroit defense was overpowering the Dallas line, why would you not try to pin them deep with a good punt and keep banking on the defense to make a stop and give your offense back the ball?

  4. TOTALLY correct.

    The bad call prevented ONE opportunity, but the Lions offensive game plan and execution in the second half was HORRID. The Lions blew MANY chances to win that game.

    Lombardi… Stafford… were just bad. BAD!

    Caldwell needs to stop being passive about it and make something happen. How many years with Stafford just not making it happen when he needs to?

  5. I guess Staffords fumble had nothing to do with why they lost. People stop crying. They had their chances afterwards. They let Romo convert on 4th down to eventually take the lead.

  6. I’m fine with the call. Your strength is your defense. Make then go 80+ yards to beat you. Their 2 TDs were on fluke missed tackles. The Lions D played good all day and were really bringing the heat.

  7. watching it live my thoughts were “if this were the Patriots, belichick would no doubt go for it and would no doubt get the first. And I hate Belichick, but that’s one of the things that separates him from other coaches.

  8. The Lions had the lead, they have arguably the best defensive lineman in the NFL, they were holding one of the best offenses in the NFL fairly well, Romo was running for his life all day, and they had the lead.

    That is a textbook “punt the ball” situation. If they went for it and didn’t get the first down, most would say he should have punted.

    Detroit made the right move there. Hindsight is always 20/20.

  9. Romo overcame some really bad calls in that game.

    Witten had a first down on 3rd and 5. yet the refs called offensive PI on Williams. why? because he was rag dolled into a defender?

    So what happened? romo faced a 3rd and 15, and threw a touchdown to Williams.

    that’s how winners play. they don’t cry about calls, they overcome them.

  10. It wasn’t the only bad call against either team. If they would have flagged Detroit for running into the punter Dallas would have kept a drive alive too. If ifs and buts were candy and nuts we’d all have a merry Christmas

  11. Can’t blame the coach for that call. If Caldwell went for it and didn’t get the yard, that decision for going for it while being up in the game and giving Dallas that field position would have been more scrutinized than punting the ball.

  12. It also overshadowed another thing: how Matthew Stafford is not the guy to lead the Lions.

    Yes, Tony Romo was counted out but he fought back because of doubters.

    Stafford hasn’t been doubted enough yet. Once he is his chances of being a winner increase.

  13. For all of the great qualities Caldwell seems to bring to the game, like leadership, guidance and perspective, he seems to shrivel to the occasion in big moments on the biggest stages. Too often, he is risk averse, not recognizing that sometimes the riskiest move is to play it safe.

  14. I don’t know, I would’ve liked to see them go for also because I like aggressive play calling. But to state that they should have as if it were fact is just plain wrong. Lots of coaches would’ve punted there with a lead & a chance to pin them deep.

  15. I thought they should have gone for it too, but quite honestly, it’s not a bad call at all. You can’t assume your punter is going to punt 10 yards, and it made more sense, IMO, to try and pin the cowboys deep so that their defense could ball. They were basically at midfield – even a touchback would have moved the cowboys back 25 yards to the 20. And even though the defense failed in that last series, that 4th and 6th might look differently from further back.

  16. But we were up; we weren’t behind
    ====================================

    Yeah, you were up. And Dallas had scored a touchdown an field goal on their previous two possessions. He’s always been too timid. Jason Garrett has balls, going for it on 4th and 6. That’s why he will win Super Bowls and Caldwell won’t.

  17. I dont really care that they were 10/20 on 4th down, I would like to know what their success was on 4th and 1 specifically. If they were better than 80% on 4th and 1 then I think Caldwell is an idiot for not going for it. If they were only 50% at 4th and 1, that is a little bit different

  18. So easy to second-guess. If they would have gone for it and failed, it would have been called the dumbest decision ever. Punting was the right move.

  19. That’s total B.S. The punt was the correct call for a team with the #1 defense in the league to make the other team have to drive 80+ yards to win the game. The emphasis should be placed more on the 10 yard shank.

  20. Again, this game was not decided by the one changed call. The Lions scored 3 points in the second half, not good enough.

    However, the outrage about the blown calls is not just Lion fans or Lion players, it’s the nation. Only Cowboy nation feels the Lions are whining… it’s the entire media whining.

    I agreed with, and still agree with Caldwell’s decision (removing hind sight from the decision, of course). Sure the Lions kick return and field goal teams were bad all year, but the punter had been fantastic all season. It was the one special team group that got the job done for the most part this season. Lumping together the rest of the special teams here and saying that the entire group was bad all year is just shotty reporting.

    This call came down to the fact that the Lions offensive line was paper thin all year and once the Right Side of the line went down, they could only run left, removing a running play on 4th and 1 from the equation. And as bad as Stafford was most the second half (some of it due to his own failures, but mostly due to the offensive line being terrible) I can understand Caldwell not wanting to risk it there and relying on the defense that was pretty stout during the game.

    (Yes, I’m a Lions fan)

  21. The comments that say that the bad ref call didn’t cost the Lions the game ABSOLUTELY misses the point.

    As my favorite coach once told me … don’t blame the Refs. If you had been up by 21 it wouldn’t have mattered. I ALWAYS agree with that.

    HOWEVER … the horrific Ref calls are ruing the sport and the NFL. There should be no place in the NFL for that type of officiating. They DO affect the game. Should you ultimately blame the Refs? Absolutely not. Did the Boys beat the Refs (disclaimer … I hate both teams equally). Yes, yes the did. Should he have gone for it on 4th down? I think so but that’s just me.

    But arguments about anything other than … the officiating sucks hard in the NFL, is affecting games dramatically, and is getting worse … are meaningless and non sequiturs.

  22. Can’t wait for Dallas to smoke the Packers and shut up all of you haters. Romo is the league’s MVP and he will show why this weekend!!!

  23. The better team won, and believe me I am no Cowboys fan.

    Faced with 4th and 6 with the game on the line, the better team, who by the way had a TD taken off the board on a questionable call earlier in the game, made the better decision.

  24. The Lions didn’t force a single punt in he 2nd half. Their best defensive stand was after Stafford’s interception and Dallas missed a field goal, which led to Detroit taking a 20-7 lead on the next possession. Other than that, they gave up touchdown drives of 80 and 59 yards, as well as allowed a field goal. Dallas’ final possession was the kneeldown.

    This is exactly why going for it on 4th and 1 was the right call. What’s more likely – Detroit getting a yard (which they’ve proven they can do 50% of the time this season) or preventing Dallas from getting the game-winning touchdown when Dallas was in scoring position on all of their 2nd half drives?

  25. I agree with MDS, the Lions should have gone for it on 4th & 1. Back in 2003, the Packers were faced with the same decision and elected to punt the ball. A 4th & 26 conversion and a Brett Favre OT interception later, they lost to the Eagles. Both teams (2014 Lions and 2003 Packers) played not to lose instead of playing to win and it cost them. The stakes are higher in the playoffs and these are the types of decisions that separate the pretenders from the contenders. If there is a doubt, coaches should simply ask themselves WWBD (What Would Belichick Do).

  26. I really don’t fault Jim Caldwell…. He was probably frozen– in shock that a penalty was called, marked-off, then cancelled (without real explanation)… And was told it was 4th an 1…

    Sure– he probably should have called a timeout of demanded Morelli provide more explanation– But I was staring (in shock) at my TV wondering what the heck just happened… I think Caldwell was wondering the same.

  27. Amazing how so many Cowboys fans have trouble being objective about the PI call. It was textbook pass interference. Bad calls happen and the Cowboys caught a huge break there. Ive seen bad calls that go in favor of my team and I can easily recognize when my team benefits from a bad call but many Cowboy fans either are incapable of analyzing that play objectively or they somehow feel that it can be justified by other game elements. Running through a receiver well before the ball arrives with no attempt to locate the ball is pass interference. Its really that simple.

    As for the punt decision, thats why coaches get the big bucks. He had a lead and trusted his special teams and defense to win the game. Nothing wrong with that logic.

  28. I feel for the Lions fans, Raider fan here and the friggin’ Tuck Rule still haunts me whenever the playoff season rolls around. Bad call by Morelli. Hoculi at least explains his calls in detail…

    However, Caldwell and the Lions miffed plenty in this game – other penalties, 3rd down conversions were horrible, didn’t put Dallas away when they should have. That terrible punt.

    4th and 1 no go vs. a very mediocre Dallas D – with Megatron, Tate, Bell , Bush etc…have to be aggressive in today’s football. This 1984 3 yards and a cloud ‘o dust/settle for FG’s stuff just doesn’t work as much. Urban Meyer gets it, hence his down field strike on Bama…nobody in CFB/NFL can hold leads anymore due to the pro-offense rules. So use them to your advantage.

  29. For Lion’s fans, you like myself are surely suffering from PTLS, Post Traumatic Lions Season. Another horrific ending to a game where it all looked so good. But you all know as well as I that it wasnt over when the 20-7

  30. Can’t say it was a bad call to punt in that situation, had he gone for it and failed you’d roast him even more.

  31. @ Seaucide55

    “Cowboys will get smoked by the Packers. Discount double check?’

    Yeah, you sure are hoping for that, as Dallas has already shown how you go into Seattle and handily beat the Seahawks.

    Either way, the Seahawks have to get past Carolina first. It will likely happen, but you just never know in this league. The 7-9 Seahawks were never supposed to beat the Saints several years back in that wildcard game in 2011, and we all saw what happened. That 67 yard TD run by Lynch was absolutely sick, and the lowly Seahawks ousted the then defending SB champion Saints.

    Are the Panthers primed for a Seattle-like upset of the defending champs? I would bet against it heavily, but then again, any given Sunday (or Saturday in this instance).

    Regardless of who wins, Seattle will have their work cut out for them with Dallas OR Green Bay. And one final piece of information – the only place to go when you are at the top is down……. Don’t forget that.

  32. All your hypotheticals are nauseating. At the time it was a high percentage call. It was not pass interference either. It was both guys touching in some form upfield (started by Hitchens pulling jersey, Pettigrew holding facemask), a legal face guard, a deflected pass off Hitchens back and after a deflected pass there can be no pass interference so the rest of play is irrelevant.

  33. I think Lions got cheated, flat out. But regardless…Stafford sucks. Been saying it. Cutler 2.0. Great arm, but isnt emotional enough to will his team. Throws boneheaded pucks, oblivious to pressure, and can never make good audibles. The lions have MORE than enough weapons to put up the points. But they cant because stafford sucks.

  34. I looked it up. They were 5/7 on 4th and 1 this year = 71.43%.

    kyatropicfanforlife says:
    Jan 5, 2015 12:32 PM

    I dont really care that they were 10/20 on 4th down, I would like to know what their success was on 4th and 1 specifically. If they were better than 80% on 4th and 1 then I think Caldwell is an idiot for not going for it. If they were only 50% at 4th and 1, that is a little bit different

  35. Is there a bigger fraud of a team than Dallas? All we ever hear about is how dominant there oline is. Romo got sacked 5 times and Murray was held to 75 yards despite the Lions dline getting straight up tackled nearly every play. I can’t wait to see this over hyped Dallas team get trounced against the Packers.

  36. He’s no Mike Tomlin. Few coaches would have the brilliance to yank an effective backup QB for a concussed starter that immediately throws a critical INT, I only hope it pays off for them.

  37. Remember when Sherman decided to punt the ball in Philly instead of going for it on 4th and 1 on the Eagles 40 yard line to seal the game? These idiot coaches never learn.

  38. I think if they went for it and got it on 4th down they eventually kick a field goal, go up by 6 and never get the ball back after Dallas drives down the field for the game winning TD and extra point. So this whole thing about going for it or not is so pointless and a waste of time, punting was the right choice, let your vaunted defense go and make a play, they just didnt get it done, end of story.

  39. Cakdwell punting the ball is not a bad call, he didn’t expect a 10 yard shank by a good punter that set Dallas up. Stop trying to cover up the refs blunder

  40. If you watched Caldwell when he was coaching the Colts, you would know that bad coaching decisions were his undoing.

  41. I understand the furor behind the controversial call/no-call…..but the fact is, the Lions were leading 20-17 when that play happened, and there were still 8+ minutes remaining in the game. The officials may have screwed up that call, but I don’t remember them taking any points off the board. The fact is, Detroit had other opportunities to salvage the win, and simply didn’t take advantage of them. Instead of making plays at the end of the game, they practically gave it away.

    In those final eight minutes after the infamous no-call, the Lions had two lost fumbles by Stafford, one shanked punt, and on a critical 4th-and-6 while protecting a 3-point lead, their defense gave up a 21 yard gain….a huge play that ultimately led to the Cowboys’ go-ahead score.

    These were all huge impact plays that had absolutely nothing do with the officiating….but had everything to do with the outcome of the game.

  42. Can’t blame Jim for that one. Top flight defense and Sam Martin has been money all year. Lions failed down the stretch plain and simple. Also you have to wonder how the tides turning against them effected this team. Cowboys fans can say what they want and they are entitled to their opinions but you cannot say that call didn’t swing momentum the Cowboys way. In the end the Cowboys played to win this game and the Lions played not to lose. But hey it’s easy to play to win when you have Pete Morelli on your team in the final few. Kudos to Dallas for making the final play of the game and shutting the door on the Lions, that was all Dallas but you cannot come on here and say that that blatant error of a call/no call/no call on Dez didn’t effect this game any. It did and it’s easy to overcome it when you’re on the beneficial side of it

  43. Hey, jsrdc… not sure why you brought the seahawks into this… that’s a charger’s, not a hawk’s fan. “Seau”, as in Junior Seau… try again.

    BTW, yes, you’re partly right about being on top… down isn’t the only place to go, because you can stay there, although it’s very hard. That being said, I’d rather have the opportunity to be on top. Just sayin’

  44. herkiethehawk says:
    Jan 5, 2015 12:22 PM

    video clearly shows the lions player grabbing a facemask.

    you haters need to stop crying about the call that was picked up.

    had the refs bailed out a horribly under thrown ball, and allowed the receiver that was yanking on a face mask to get a first down, that would of been a travesty of epic proportions.

    now Dallas, at 12-4 has to go visit Green Bay, also 12-4

    Dallas was 5-1 against the same teams Green Bay faced, and Green Bay was 3-3 in those games.

    the tie breaker scenarios are stupid. Green Bay is rewarded for having the bears and vikings in their division.
    ————————————–
    I agree with everything you typed up until the last sentence. The Cowboys had the Giants and Washington in their division. Giants and Redskins combined for 10 wins and the Vikings and Bears combined for 12 wins.

    The real question is why do the tie breakers go by conference records? It should be head-to-head first which would have given the Cowboys the edge over Seattle for a 1st round bye.

    Regarding the penalty (flag pick up). There should have been a penalty but it was OBVIOUS that Pettigrew grabbed the facemask which don’t ask me why but I would bet it would be very difficult for a player to turn and look for the ball if the facemask is being grabbed. No one should be complaining about the non-PI call. If anything Pettigrew just guilty.

  45. Why would he go for it at mid-field with a battered o-line while nursing a 3 point lead? Their punter HAD been great all year. Weather was not an issue. Their defense was mauling Romo and his o-line.

    You punt there and make them go 80-90 yards.

    Look at how pathetic the Lions o-line played in that final two minutes. You really think Caldwell made the wrong call?

  46. Enough about this one call already. Dallas had their own share of drives stymied by iffy calls, and that would have altered the outcome as well.

    This wasn’t a clear case of “punt and give it to the defense, which has been your strength”. At this point in the game, before the iffy call, momentum was already swinging Dallas’ way. Dallas was up 10-3 in the half to that point, and the Lions’ defense was visibly tiring. Worst thing to do at that point is give the ball back to a hot offense when your defense needs more of a break.

    They convert that 4th down, and they likely get a field goal out of it, and then it’s a different game. That opportunity was in their hands, and they fumbled it.

    Lions had the lead with 8 minutes left. Offensive failure, special teams failure, defensive failure, and then one last offensive failure – all of that coming after only having scored 3 points in the half – is how they ended this game. That’s a whole lot more than any one officiating call.

  47. He should go for it on 4th and 1 because the offense should be able to pick up one yard? He tried to pick up one yard on the previous play and couldn’t do it because an official made a bad call. How does he know that isn’t going to happen again. If they went for it on fourth down and didn’t get it, you would be savaging Caldwell just like you’re doing now.

  48. My problem with the whole scenario?
    On 3rd & 1, you play a high percentage play call…
    RUN THE BALL!!!!!!!!!!!!
    If you need 1 lousy yard, you RUN THE BALL…
    And 4th & 1 never happens……yes, you have Megatron, etc but for 1 yard, you shouldn’t have a problem running and converting the 3rd down. If you can’t get 1 yard running the ball 90% of the time, you don’t deserve to win.

  49. kevpft says:
    Jan 5, 2015 1:05 PM
    Enough about this one call already. Dallas had their own share of drives stymied by iffy calls, and that would have altered the outcome as well.

    ===========================

    This wasn’t an “iffy call”. It was 3 blatant mistakes all on 1 play by the refs in a critical situation that favored the team that needed to come from behind to win.

    Any of those 3 calls gives the Lions a first down within field goal range. 2 of those calls called correctly would have given the Lions a 1st down inside the 20.

    How do you miss a player running off the bench to yell in your face? There is no excuse you can make about not seeing him. None.

    That was a HUGE difference and if any of the calls are made correctly, Caldwell doesn’t get the opportunity to make that 4th and 1 decision.

    As much as some people want to minimize those calls, they ended up being the difference in the game.

  50. Lions fans here….I don’t have a problem with the punt decision….as they had the lead at that point in the game.

    Here’s hoping Dallas can beat GB. Please, anybody but the Packers!!!!!

  51. so many crybabies. keep hiding behind this penalty. so convenient to have something to blame for a huge meltdown. Your team was up 13 points in the second half and lost. your QB is horrible and cant win a big game, your coach is a fritada. The Lions were outscored 17-3 in the second half and Dallas missed a chip shot field goal.

    Meanwhile this play happens with over 8 minutes left in the game and its the reason why they lost.

    You people are acting like it was a hail mary touchdown with no time remaining that overturned by the refs. get over it. Detroit still had plenty of time to win the game. Stop Dallas from scoring a TD on that drive, or score one yourselves.

    Keep re-directing blame from the horrible Lions performance in the second half if it makes you sleep better.

    Meanwhile, we are on to Green Bay.

  52. I’m not a fan of neither team but people, I am assuming Cowboys fans, should really stop with the whole grabbing the face mask retort.

    The flag was thrown, bear with me now, because the ref thought he saw an interference being committed by the defensive player. Let’s forget about the fact that the flag was picked up for a moment. It was thrown for defensive pass interference. The referee or any official, for that matter, did not see the offensive pass interference, if there was one.

    “OH, if anything, the offensive player should have been flagged.” That logic doesn’t work. Yes, everything that happened during that single play was evident during the replay. And so is everything else from every other play if, and when, watched during replay.

    The instant it happened, the ref called it a Defensive PI, e.g. throwing the yellow flag. AGAIN, the flag was not thrown because of Offensive PI. I suppose everyone would be quitter today if the flag was thrown at both players, but it wasn’t and the flag was picked up seemingly making it look like the refs bungled the call.

  53. My question for Jim Caldwell is why did the Lions go from being ranked 6th in offense in 2013 to being 19th in offense in 2014? Isn’t Caldwell supposed to be an offense-minded coach?

  54. eagleswin says:
    Jan 5, 2015 1:17 PM

    kevpft says:
    Jan 5, 2015 1:05 PM
    Enough about this one call already. Dallas had their own share of drives stymied by iffy calls, and that would have altered the outcome as well.

    ===========================

    This wasn’t an “iffy call”. It was 3 blatant mistakes all on 1 play by the refs in a critical situation that favored the team that needed to come from behind to win.

    Any of those 3 calls gives the Lions a first down within field goal range. 2 of those calls called correctly would have given the Lions a 1st down inside the 20.

    How do you miss a player running off the bench to yell in your face? There is no excuse you can make about not seeing him. None.

    That was a HUGE difference and if any of the calls are made correctly, Caldwell doesn’t get the opportunity to make that 4th and 1 decision.

    As much as some people want to minimize those calls, they ended up being the difference in the game.
    ———————————————-
    People also seem to be minimizing the facemask by Pettigrew. Should have been called which at very least would have been offsetting penalties.

  55. Lions got jobbed. Dallas committed PI on Pettigrew and then got a phantom defensive holding on the play before the go-ahead TD (3rd and goal incompletion).

    After 75 years, the owners finally got what they want. A puppet owner, incomprehensible rules and the ability to fix games for betting.

    That game was the last straw. I’m done watching. It’s been a fun ride. 4 SB wins for my team. However, I don’t know whether the last 3 are legit.

  56. All these Dallas fans want to say there should be offsetting penalties but have nothing to say about a helmet-less diva named Dez Bryant running off the sideline getting up in the refs face and arguing with him. Should have been an automatic first down right there.

  57. Meh, it wasn’t that bad of a no-call. I think Dez being on the field is the most egregious of them, but the fact that the refs picked up the flag sorta confirms that Dez was right – not that that makes what he did legal.

    As for the jersey hold and the PI call, just like holding on the OL, this stuff happens on practically every passing play. The refs are making judgment calls on if it’s egregious and if it impacted the result play. In this case, the jersey pull had no effect and was within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage. The contact when the ball was in the air was just typical hand fighting. Pettigrew was giving as good as he got, and Hitchens made contact but didn’t push, pull or otherwise change Pettigrew’s momentum.

    Face guarding is not a penalty. I wouldn’t have had a fit if they’d have thrown the flag, but when I watched it live at full speed I thought the flag was unwarranted. On review I see more contact, but live it was clear the pass was broken up because Hitchens had position and it was a terrible pass, not because he was interfered with.

  58. The headline of this article acts like it is fact that Caldwell made a bad call to punt. He has a top 5 defense and decided to pin the Cowboys deep knowing they had to drive all the way for a touchdown. How did he know his punter was going to toss his cookies like that?!
    There is this underlying criticism of Jim Caldwell based on things he did during his tenure in Indy. Anyone who knows anything about the Lions realize that Caldwell is THE reason for the Lions being anywhere close to the playoffs this season.
    Give the guy a break because his well thought out strategy failed! If he had gone for it and got stuffed for a 3 yard loss, I think we know what the criticism would be!

  59. If he goes for it and doesn’t make it you guys (media) torch him for a bad choice. He shouldn’t have been in that position except for blatant incompetence by the refs.

  60. Coaches that win championships are aggressive. Conservative coaches can have good regular season records, but don’t win championships. Caldwell learned from Dungy, who was a really good coach but too conservative and it cost him in the playoffs.

  61. There were some bad calls made in that game. I agree.

    However, some good football was played on offense and defense by both teams. Not enough is being said about THAT.

    All you guys are talking about is the bad calls.
    (five articles now and counting)

  62. He didn’t go for it on 4th & 1 because if you conventional wisdom says punt. If you go for it an miss you get killed in the media. Look at Belichick with the 4th & 2 call that would have sealed the game for them. He got killed for it, but only because it happened to fail. The play was a higher percentage play than punting to Manning with 2 minutes left, but that didn’t matter.

  63. After third and one CALL failed, did Caldwell have the confidence to go for it on fourth and one? Did he have the faith in the OC to call the right play after what he saw on third and one? Officiating asside, that wasn’t really a high percentage call, the pass to the concussed tight end, was it.

    The coach didn’t punt the ball, and the decision to punt was absolutely the same decision that an c+ or better coach in football would have made. I’m proud for this forum to stand up to the absurd suggestion that the loss in any way fell on Caldwell’s game management–and I am not a Caldwell fan, just a realist.

  64. I can’t believe that there are STILL people that think punting on 4th and 1 past midfield is a good idea. After seeing it backfire time and time again. Hmm… is it easier to make ONE YARD (plus get to keep the ball) or is it easier to stop the opposing offense when they are in 2 min drill desperation mode 3 OR 4 DOWNS in a row… Hmm tough decision. Make ONE YARD or have to stop an offense from getting 10 yards 3 or 4 downs in a row. Incredible that ANYONE would think punting there was smart. The second he sent out the punting team I said “game.” they have no desire to win and they don’t deserve to win. pitiful

  65. herkiethehawk says:
    Jan 5, 2015 12:22 PM
    video clearly shows the lions player grabbing a facemask.
    ==================
    Please learn the rules. Every grasping of the facemask is no longer a penalty. They did away with the 5 yard variety. That was not a 15 yard PF facemask and therefore was not a penalty.

    Either way if all fouls including your facemask, it still would have been Detroit ball first and ten 15 yards down field because the Dex Unsportsmanlike Conduct foul was a deadball foul and would not have been offset with a live ball foul. Officials gave the game to Dallas.

  66. So many cry babies on here. If the call went your teams way you would be singing a different toon. Haters gonna hate. The play was textbook face guarding not PI. When the receiver made contact first and hitchens knocks his hand away that isn’t pass interference. Know what you are talking about before posting.

  67. eagleswin says: Jan 5, 2015 1:17 PM

    That was a HUGE difference and if any of the calls are made correctly, Caldwell doesn’t get the opportunity to make that 4th and 1 decision.

    As much as some people want to minimize those calls, they ended up being the difference in the game.

    ===========================

    It wasn’t the difference in the game. Lions had the ball and the lead with 8 minutes left, and one yard for a 1st down. They had offensive, defensive, and special-teams possessions after that call, and failed on all of them. Wimping out on 4th & 1, shanking a punt, allowing a TD, failing to score, fumbling. One call didn’t cause any of that. Their play in the last 9 minutes of the game caused them to lose, end of story. This wasn’t the Seahawks-Packers hail mary call, it was a call with more than half a quarter left to play and the Lions holding the lead.

    Lions couldn’t score a TD after the first quarter. Cowboys scored one in each of the following 3 quarters, and made adjustments and pulled off just enough big plays to edge out a win. Lions ran out of gas. That’s the game.

    Look, as an Eagles fan you have some understandable frustration and desire to see Dallas lose. But fact is that Dallas was equally, if not more, stymied earlier in the game by poor calls going against them. If Dallas had lost, they could have complained about any of those. Both teams dealt with a dodgy day of officiating, and the Cowboys won.

  68. punting on the 4th and 1 (4th and 6) was absolutely the right call. Cowboys prolific offense was held in check all day and only had 10 points at the time. If the punter didn’t crap the bed and punts it down to the 10 yard line, the going for it would be a non story.

  69. Enough with the cry baby excuses!

    The Lions lost because of a strip sack on Stafford on 3rd down with a 1 min left in the game. The so called bad call on Pettigrew is just media vomit and a typical Lion’s excuse for why they suck so bad!

  70. Ummm….what about the 2:40 on the clock with the ball and two timeouts in which the Lions allowed two sack fumbles? Even after the shanked punt, it’s not like the Cowboys were 1st and goal. Lions LOST…fair and square.

  71. I thought Caldwell was clueless when he was in Indy. That hasn’t been the case in Detroit. He made the right call and most coaches under those circumstances would have done the same. Your logic is exactly what Caldwell said, a benefit of the result or 20/20 hindsight. Even that 10 yard shank was better than the momentum and field position given by getting stuffed on 4th and 1. His defense was playing well and he had the lead. Odds were better trying to pin them deep and forces them to drive the length of the field against a defense that was getting decent pressure all game. Your conclusion is wrong and makes you seem a bit holier-than-thou. Just because you would have gone for it does not make it the best decision. If he would have gone for it and failed you would have blasted him using the logic I just spelled out. Stop it.

  72. It was a bad flag pickup and we dodge a bullet with the no call on Dez. I’m a cowboy fan and do see it, but bad calls happen, and were abundant on both sides. I mean both side never got a roughing the passer call, and both QBs were getting murdered after throws, especially Romo. It was a poorly ruffed game, but 2 minutes, 2 timeouts, drive the field win the game. That is championship football. The result was a double fumble, a batted pass,a few completions, then a game losing fumble. That is what happened.

  73. hyzers says: Jan 5, 2015 12:53 PM

    Is there a bigger fraud of a team than Dallas? All we ever hear about is how dominant there oline is. Romo got sacked 5 times and Murray was held to 75 yards despite the Lions dline getting straight up tackled nearly every play. I can’t wait to see this over hyped Dallas team get trounced against the Packers.
    ===============================

    Why yes, because a team that was 12-4 in the regular season and just beat an 11-5 team, as well as being one of eight teams remaining in the tournament, is most certainly a fraud. That is some real great analysis there, sport.

  74. @ dawindbag

    “The flag was thrown, bear with me now, because the ref thought he saw an interference being committed by the defensive player. Let’s forget about the fact that the flag was picked up for a moment. It was thrown for defensive pass interference. The referee or any official, for that matter, did not see the offensive pass interference, if there was one”.

    You are living up to your handle, that is for sure. The flag was picked up because the ref FURTHEST from the play threw the flag. THEN Morelli announced it, and THEN they huddled to discuss it, as the CLOSER ref said it wasn’t PI.

    If you saw defensive PI, then you OBVIOUSLY saw an offensive face mask penalty as well. That part was harder to see from further away, but was shown on replay. Pettigrew claimed Hitchens ran through him, which is obvious BS. The call could have gone either way, and it went the way of a non-call. Several other calls were missed as well, and had the punter kicked it down to the 5 yard line, none of this would be discussed.

    The Cowboys came back, seized the opportunity, and WON THE GAME. Detroit couldn’t hold them after leading 20 – 7. That isn’t the fault of the referees, but falls squarely on the Lions D inability to stop the Cowboys from coming back and winning the game.

  75. Punting on 4th and 1 past midfield was great strategy 15 years ago when there was such a thing called defense. Now, odds are better you pick up the yard than stop a mvp caliber QB in hurry up.

  76. RomoIsGod says:
    Jan 5, 2015 12:40 PM
    Can’t wait for Dallas to smoke the Packers and shut up all of you haters. Romo is the league’s MVP and he will show why this weekend!!!

    ———————————————-
    Here is the thing about Romo for MVP. He is a good QB, but can you really name someone MVP of the whole league if no one is really scared to play against him? I never hear anyone say, OH NO we played against Romo this weekend.

    Murray is the best MVP chance for Dallas, and i think he’ll finish behind Rodgers and Watt.

  77. morty999 says: Jan 5, 2015 1:59 PM

    punting on the 4th and 1 (4th and 6) was absolutely the right call. Cowboys prolific offense was held in check all day and only had 10 points at the time. If the punter didn’t crap the bed and punts it down to the 10 yard line, the going for it would be a non story.

    =====================

    Actually, to that point the Cowboys had scored the same number of TDs as Detroit, and were up 10-3 in second half scoring (and despite your claim, they had 17 total points at that time). Detroit’s defense was visibly tiring, and they badly needed more points to hold the lead.

  78. herkiethehawk says: Jan 5, 2015 12:22 PM

    video clearly shows the lions player grabbing a facemask.

    you haters need to stop crying about the call that was picked up.

    had the refs bailed out a horribly under thrown ball, and allowed the receiver that was yanking on a face mask to get a first down, that would of been a travesty of epic proportions.

    **********

    Okay, The call offsetting penalties and replay the down.

  79. The NFL clearly has an objective of who they want to win games & is executing that objective through Ref direction. Calling one team for fouls left & right while ignoring blatant fouls by the opposing teams. Every game in the Wild Card Weekend was being directed by Refs.

  80. Should you trust your offense or should you trust your defense? That’s the decision he made and it was one that 90% of NFL coaches would’ve also made given the situation and structure of his team. The worse coaching gaffe was not putting pressure on Romo on 4th down. How many times does he have to kill teams in a 3 or 4 man rush before they realize he’s clutch (like every single professional QB) when given 10 seconds back there.

  81. this is just flat out wrong. Of course you punt it there. How is an article like this even written let alone read by all of us? Trying to delete the brain cells that were wasted by this one. Since when is punting on 4th down with the lead the ‘clear to the point of writing an article about it’ incorrect decision?

  82. Hindsight evaluation is very easy. Why didn’t they run it on 3rd down instead of passing? Why didn’t they blitz Romo on 4th and 6? Just not that tough to do. If your a Cowboys fan it was a great no call. If you’re a Lions fan or 95% of the rest of the fans in the NFL the whole sequence was an awful travesty.

  83. Cmon get real. A few facts for the people here who don’t know football….

    -the first bad call of the game went against dallas and helped put 7 on the board for Detroit. That WAS NOT RUNNING INTO THE KICKER. The punter deserves an Emmy for that acting job.

    -another bad call that this time, took points away from dallas. Holding call on witten after a demarco Murray TD was a terrible call. Terrible as in it did not happen. Nice try refs. Dallas got the td on 4th and 1. We didn’t let the refs idiocy stop our production. Get my point?

    -end of second quarter PI called on terrence Williams was bad. He gets shoved into the defender by a Detroit player and the refs missed it. That took away a big first down. Dallas scored a TD on the next play(we didn’t let the refs get away with that one either, it’s called making plays when you have to have it)

    The PI on hitchens was a tic-tac call had it stood. Both the TE and the LB made contact with each other. Ebron had his hand in hitchens facemask. Very little mention of that.

    Funny how infuriated the haters are over Dallas winning.

    What you haters should be saying today, if you were capable of allowing truth to part your lips that is, is that Tony romo was ultra clutch when it counted. That Tony romo was the reason Dallas won, not Dez, not demarco. That offense ran through romo last night. And he delivered.

    not sure if anyone noticed but Detroit had multiple chances to seal it after the supposed bad call/no call. They did nothing. Dallas had the same chances and they scored a td when it counted, followed by a huge defensive stand with the game on the line.

    Why isn’t anyone knocking stafford for choking on the last drive with the game on the line? Blind hatred. That’s why. Bias. That’s why.

    Shut your mouth haters and bathe in the beating dallas handed you yesterday.

  84. fatcamper says:
    Jan 5, 2015 12:26 PM
    It wasn’t the only bad call against either team. If they would have flagged Detroit for running into the punter Dallas would have kept a drive alive too.

    ——–

    Fine, throw the flag there. Running into the kicker. Five yards. Replay 4th down.

    So what?

  85. With all the crowd noise I didn’t really see a wonderful chance at trying to draw Lions offside.

  86. I personally don’t think Caldwell is a good coach, but that’s just my opinion. With that said, I have to wonder was he playing to win or playing not to lose? There’s a huge difference. Should’ve gone for it on fourth down…BUT, shouldnt have had too….worst no call ever. You Dallas homers are happy and you Lion fans are pissed, I couldn’t personally care less as I had no horse in this race, but anyone that thinks that wasn’t pass interference by the NFLs definition, has not watched the NFL much….lately.

  87. I know what the statistics say about going for it on 4th down. It would have been a completely defensible move. But going for it there says that you don’t trust the #2 defense in the league to prevent a 90-yard drive, which is what a punter should be able to set up in that situation. I’ll take those odds any day.

    The worse decision was having Tate off the field and throwing to Brandon Pettigrew on 3rd and 1.

  88. Let’s end this debate. You have 8 min left in the 4th quarter with the ball in Dallas territory up by 3 points with one yard to go and you punt?

    Clearly one MUST go for the first down here as the reward of getting the first down outweighs the risk of giving the ball back to Dallas in Dallas territory (even if its at about the 45 yard line or so). After all, Dallas still has to drive 60+ yards to take the lead on your #2 ranked defense.

    Irrespective of the shank punt, Caldwell should have gone for it….and I know he’s thinking the exact same thing right now.

  89. runfirst says:
    Jan 5, 2015 2:33 PM

    Shut your mouth haters and bathe in the beating dallas handed you yesterday.

    —–

    I’ve never really had anything against the Cowboys, and I’ve never had much of an opinion about their fans.

    But my goodness, am I going to enjoy asking this runfirst character about how “ultra clutch” Tony Romo was next week after Green Bay stops all over them.

    Dallas Cowboys fans are like school on Saturday: no class.

  90. scottbiggie says:
    Jan 5, 2015 12:52 PM
    I looked it up. They were 5/7 on 4th and 1 this year = 71.43%.

    kyatropicfanforlife says:
    Jan 5, 2015 12:32 PM

    I dont really care that they were 10/20 on 4th down, I would like to know what their success was on 4th and 1 specifically. If they were better than 80% on 4th and 1 then I think Caldwell is an idiot for not going for it. If they were only 50% at 4th and 1, that is a little bit different

    ================================

    In that case (thanks for the info) I am of the opinion he should have done for it

  91. Judgment call. Pettigrew played that horribly if the goal was to get a penalty. He could have easily got the call by going for the ball.
    You dont call that play if you dont plan to go for it on 4th down.

  92. The flag was thrown by a referee farthest from the incident. The 3 referees closest to the play ruled that it was not a penalty. It appears that the referees are allowing the players to play the game without penalties on was is deemed minor infractions. Face Guarding is not illegal in the NFL. I can see that play called either way. With over 8 minutes remaining in the game I do not see this as a game changer. When you compare Garrett’s strategy to Caldwell’s, Garrett played to win on a fourth down that led to the winning touchdown and Caldwell punted, a shank that only traveled 10 yards and lost the game. Perhaps these 2 plays were the difference and not the controversial call or non call. As to Dez being on the field without a helmet, it is not a penalty when you are in timeout mode due to the referees having discussions. The game was a hard fought one with strong emotions on both sides. One play was insignificant to the outcome of this game. Whichever team losses in the playoffs will always complain, nothing out of the norm and expected.

  93. Firstly, for whatever reason, the officiating is different in playoffs than in regular season. It’s been that way since I’ve been watching football (1967). The refs tend to let the players play more and the ticky tak stuff that gets called in regular season isn’t called in playoffs. With that said, was that a pass interference penalty? Could be called that way but Stafford’s pass was short. A better throw and I think you definitely get that call. In the first half, the Boys are down 14-0 and stinking up the place. They get a supposed first down; however, Terrance Williams is called for Offensive Interference. It clearly was not, yet it backed the Cowboys up, taking away the first down. They overcame that on the next play on William’s first touchdown and got them back in the game. The Lions on the other hand decided on 4th and 1 to punt after the questionable pass interference call. Who’s fault is it that the punt went 10 yards? On the game winning drive they had the Cowboys 4th and 7, who let them convert that? Who tackled the Cowboy RB on a critical 3rd down on the same drive? After the Cowboys scored, who fumbled not once but twice? Who let the Cowboys score on 4th and 1 when they were up 20 to 6? Who got the ball first in the second half and threw an INT on the first play? So quite frankly, bad calls are made all the time but the Lions had many chances to overcome that call and they didn’t. The Cowboys overcame calls and their own stupidity and deserved to win. They made the plays…that’s what it’s all about. Who makes the plays when the game is on the line.

  94. dirtydrynn27 says: Jan 5, 2015 12:28 PM

    It`s amazing how the league and the Ref`s cater to Dallas!

    Like letting Suh play?

  95. And therein lies the reason that the Colts canned him. I think Caldwell is very lucky that anyone hired him after his Colts tenure. His decision making and clock management skills are very suspect. I thought for sure that the Lions would go for it and try to deliver the knockout punch. Things might be different for them today. They could be packing for Seattle instead of cleaning out their lockers. The bad officiating didn’t help either.

  96. @ lanski5

    Don’t worry Lions fans, we got this. Packers will extract a terrrrrible vengeance upon the Cowboys”.

    Really? Will they? The Packers are going to extract revenge for a hated rival?

    The Packers are a very good team, but their D against the run is 23rd in the league relative to Detroit’s #1 ranking. Murray averaged roughly 4 ypc and had a TD against the # 1 ranked team in football against the run. That is a pretty good game for the O-line AND for Murray. And Romo, with 6 sacks in this game, stayed patient and focused, and had a very good game against a very good D.

    The Dallas O-line had their struggles against Detroit’s front 4, and it is very understandable – name me a team that hasn’t had their share of problems with Detroit’s front 4. They are a very solid group. But going against a team that is 23rd in the league against the rush (GB) very well could help Dallas establish a rhythm which they didn’t find until the second half against Detroit. The O-line sets the tone for everything offensively, and if Dallas establishes this early, it should make for a good game offensively on both sides of the ball.

    It will be cold. It won’t be easy. But GB is certainly beatable, and I think it will come down to execution of the game plan and turnovers. It think it will be a very good game. Remember, Dallas was supposed to be 8-8 at best with the league’s worst D. Yet they go 12-4, go 8-0 on the road, and lead the league in rushing yards amongst other categories.

  97. “your QB is horrible and cant win a big game, your coach is a fritada.”
    _ _ _ _ _

    Wow, that is EXACTLY what everybody has been saying about the Cowboys for years. Pot, meet kettle.

  98. One play doesn’t make the whole game…both sides had a good chance to win.

    Lion fans need to stop looking at that one play and really should be looking at the entire second half.
    Turnovers hurt the lions as much as anything

  99. Here’s the problem Dallas, the league doesn’t favor you over GB.

    No gimmes.

    You’ll have to actually win, and your secondary and LBs WILL be called for PI vs Erin.

    And those of you saying “yeah but Detroit had the ball” are disingenuous at best. Detroit shouldn’t lose because they couldn’t overcome Dallas and the refs.

    It should have been first and ten on about the Dallas 20 after PI and unsportsmanlike.

    And I hope everyone takes a minute to email the NFL.

    And as a Hawk fan I wanted Dallas as Carolina appears a much better match-up then Detroit.

  100. The one call that was indisputable that should have been called was Dez Bryant running onto the field screaming at the officials without his helmet on.

    In the end Caldwell chose to “play not to lose” rather than to win and should have known that the game was already slipping away.

    I can’t stand the Cowboys and Garrett but at least he had the guts to go for it on 4th down even though he would have been crucified had they not won the game.

  101. …unfortunate outcome for Caldwell.
    Word is; Caldwell only had to win 1 playoff game to reach an escalator in his contract enabling his headset microphone.Currently he can only listen in to the other coaches calling the game.

  102. Situational awareness is lost on people, too many people rely on raw emotion. At that point in the game i questioned why go for it on 4th and 1, punting was the right call but of course punter shanked it so thats that. Now, say a first down seals the game, sure they would have gone for it.

  103. I seem to remember belicheck making the opposite call and failing. Remember the heat he took for that? Damned if you do, damned if you dont

  104. Detroit fans are whining about Bryant running onto the field and pretty much a non-existent PI call that was reversed.

    In the most textbook way, Detroit fans are right.

    But lets face it, Detroit didn’t lose because the refs didn’t call a penalty on Dez Bryant running onto the field. That has no impact on the way the Lions or Cowboys played in the 2nd half.

    Fact is, that punter royally screwed up and Stafford couldn’t do anything in the 2nd half. The defense also made a number of mental errors on Dallas’ ensuing drive, resulting in a couple of gut-punching flags.

    There’s nothing like a supposed blown call to take the pressure off the players who really deserved it. And this is coming from a Packers fan, who was cheering for the Lions to win.

  105. fontesmustgo says:
    Jan 5, 2015 2:51 PM
    runfirst says:
    Jan 5, 2015 2:33 PM

    Shut your mouth haters and bathe in the beating dallas handed you yesterday.

    —–

    I’ve never really had anything against the Cowboys, and I’ve never had much of an opinion about their fans.

    But my goodness, am I going to enjoy asking this runfirst character about how “ultra clutch” Tony Romo was next week after Green Bay stops all over them.

    Dallas Cowboys fans are like school on Saturday: no class.
    ————————————————-

    Last line first-no class? Really? My post was filled zero opinion, zero hate, just reality. No mane calling, no made up nonsense. No crying. How does that post make you think Cowboys fans have no class? Please educate me. Classless=dudes crying that the nfl is fixed, classless=the people on here so mad that dallas won that they are putting a refs personal info on pft.com so exact revenge. That’s classless, bruh.

    Next, haters have been saying romo was gonna choke ALL SEASON LONG. Haters said before this game, before the skins game, before colts game, before the Eagles game, before the Seahawks game, before the season started, during the pre season and in training camp. Every week you haters change the date of your prediction. Do you see why you are dubbed “haters”?

    Last thing, I notice how you didn’t argue the ultra clutch statement. Are there cracks starting to form in the hatred? Or was that just a simple oversight?

  106. It is completely illogical to defend and minimize the impact of the biased and crooked calls by the refs’ impact on the game by the trite and totally insane argument that the Lions still could have won the game because they could have scored on other plays.

    The game of football is played by humans and none of them perform consistently like robots on repeat plays. To argue that the aggrieved team had other chances to win is to argue that a football team could just as well score a TD every time they run an offensive play. Of course that just does not ever happen does it so why argue that a team could overcome playing against 11 players and against a crooked and incompetent officiating crew? When a team has to play against another team as well as crooked and corrupt refs, the game is no longer a game between two team, it becomes a fixed outcome.

    When a penalty is deliberately missed or dismissed in favor of another team, it totally diminishes any real conception of an honest contest of teams and only leaves us with a crooked and scripted game designed to promote a pre-designated winner.

    Anyone who saw the missed non-call pass interference call against Carolina interfering Floyd in the Arizona – Carolina game can easily surmise that the game was still in the tipping point where the Cards still had a legit chance to win, but the Cards were denied the chance by another crooked and corrupt crew of officials.

    To argue your point that erasing a major penalty that could decide the outcome of a game because the cheated team still had chances to win is absurd. The game is played where penalties are prescribed for defined infractions. When those infractions occur, the refs should be honest and ethical enough to call and enforce the penalties.

    Consider that there are no pro team that can correctly run every one of their offensive plays right every time, so why argue that a team can after they were cheated by crooked, incompetent, and corrupt officials?

    After this weekend, it is clear that the NFL is no longer an honestly officiated football league. I wonder how much Jerry Jones and the NFL paid to ensure the Cowboys advanced beyond the first round?

  107. Just because you would call the play differently (go for it instead of punt) doesn’t mean Caldwell made the wrong decision there. I agree with Caldwell on this one.

  108. Everyone calling the game fixed are foolish. I mean if it so rigged, then how were the lions getting passed GB and SEA. I mean GB has Rodgers, and SEA has Wilson, both poster boys for the NFL. Reality is the game isn’t fixed, but really bad calls happen. We were fortunate to be on the other side of a bad call for once, because crushing the Cowboys spirit on TV is one of the highest rated moments in TV, and that somehow didn’t happen. If it’s all fixed, then we’d see patriots vs packers every SB. But it’s not. If it’s fixed Peyton would’ve won last year, but he didn’t.

    Look it was a bad call, but Detroit tried to protect a lead, not play as if each play was the last. Detroit had 0 takeaways, dodge a bullet on a interception to begin the second half, fumbled twice within a minute and had players get dehydrated?! It Texas in a freaking dome shooting fireworks, it’s gonna be hot. Tate was exposing the crap outta our LB group, and on the final 3 drive for Detroit they go to a screen game with Riddick. That isn’t how you win. The could’ve done quick slants to Tate every other play and march right up the field, but they didn’t.

  109. Ask Mike Smith about gambling on fourth and one?
    He failed on the majority of them and lost the game.

  110. raideralex99 says:
    Jan 5, 2015 4:39 PM
    Ask Mike Smith about gambling on fourth and one?
    He failed on the majority of them and lost the game.
    ===

    Seems unlikely. I am sure you have a list handy to prove your point.

  111. I don’t respect Caldwell. He allows players to be bigger than his team. Would new England allow their players to act like suh or raiola? No way. They would be cut or punished.

    not caldwell. He let’s his players be bigger than the team. If he was half the coach he needs to be, he himself would have suspended suh for at least a quarter as punishment. Instead he said suh did nothing wrong and today said resigning suh is the teams highest priority. He will be ran out of town in a couple years. And he would have showed a lot of moxy and swagger if he went for it. The mentality of a winner. He doesn’t have that.

  112. That’s not even a decision at that time, it would be utterly ridiculous for him to go for 4-1 at around the 50 yd line with 6 min in the game leading by 3…..if he was down or a tie ball game then it because on good question. In that situation you expect your punter to pin them with the 15 yd line with a good punt, a excellent punt would put them inside the 10 and a bad punt puts them at the 20….the cowboys would have to put together a 8-9 play drive to score a TD or a 6-7 play drive for a fg to tie the game…everyone is talking about the refs on the take someone should be talking about that punter…..10 freaking yd in a playoff game? smh if Caldwell went for it and didn’t make it you would be the first one to write an article calling it a bad call…can’t have it both ways….he did the right thing…..

  113. Why do some of you here insist on comparing Dallas going for a fourth down play while TRAILING and facing a Detroit defense that had their number for much of the game with Detroit, LEADING, punting on fourth down with a defense that had for the most part kicked Dallas in the teeth all game and an offensive mindset so weak that they just threw a pass to a concussed tight end on third and one? This is apples and onions comparison.

  114. 1: It was Offensive Holding, to begin with
    2: Defensive player did not Stop the receiver from catching the ball
    3: The Ball was Uncatch-able; It hit the Defender in the back
    4: The Receiver PULLED the Defender down
    5: Refs don’t need to tell the spectators why they picked up the flag
    (It’s rare when they make explanations; that kind of stuff is done
    by referees that Want to give one, but it’s not Mandatory)
    6: If the Defender HAD turned-around, it would have been an INTERCEPTION
    7: It was a GREAT “good-call” for Dallas.

  115. Good safe calls in September are game losing calls in January. If you wanna win a Lombardi, you’ve got to have the sack to gamble when appropriate. Sean Payton won a championship calling Ambush on Caldwell’s Colts. He should have learned the lesson then.

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