Officials hand Texans a touchdown, with an assist from Schwartz


In the most embarrassing display of pathetic NFL officiating since the replacement refs’ Fail Mary ended the lockout, the Texans were handed an 81-yard touchdown on what should have been an eight-yard run by Justin Forsett.

But Lions coach Jim Schwartz deserves part of the blame as well.

Forsett took a handoff and ran up the middle and was clearly tackled after eight yards. Anyone with two good eyes (or even one good eye) could see that both Forsett’s knee and his elbow were on the ground, and players on both teams started walking back to get into the huddle for the next play.

But apparently none of the seven officials the NFL sent to Ford Field today has even one good eye, because none of them saw that Forsett was down. And when Forsett realized that none of the officials saw him go down, he got back up and sprinted to the end zone. The ruling on the field was a touchdown.

OK, no problem: Touchdowns are automatically reviewed, and this one will be overturned on replay, right? Wrong.

Lions coach Jim Schwartz threw his challenge flag, which is against the rules on scoring plays, which are automatically reviewed. And the NFL’s rules say that when you throw a challenge flag on a play that is automatically reviewed, not only are you penalized 15 yards, but the play is no longer reviewed. So Schwartz’s bonehead decision sealed the Texans’ touchdown.

But while Schwartz could be seen pointing to himself and saying, “That’s on me,” it’s really on the officials. This was an unconscionable mistake.

The NFL recently fined referee Tony Corrente his game check for swearing into an open microphone. The officials working today’s game in Detroit deserve a much harsher punishment than that, for a much worse mistake.

143 responses to “Officials hand Texans a touchdown, with an assist from Schwartz

  1. Somewhere Harbaugh is saying “Learn the rules Schwartz!” Lion fans know what im talking about.. haha

  2. 1)First of all , a dumb rule. Why is an incorrectly thrown flag a penalty?? It doesn’t delay the game really. What is the purpose of having such a stupid rule? Just ignore the challenge flag.
    2) What is stopping the refs from huddling togehter and discussing whether he was down or not? It is no different from referee huddles where they pick up a penalty flag. ARe you telling me NOT A SINGLE REF saw the guy down????
    His elbow AND knee weree clearly down.

  3. I do recall a similar situation where, a challenge flag was thrown, I think it was on a turnover though.

    It happened in the last two weeks or so.

    The Packers should consider signing Cunningham for kicker, he had some pretty good form.

  4. I can’t understand how the NFL decided that a coach throwing a red flag at the wrong time is such an EGREGIOUS act. Is it so hard to just say- oh coach- pick the flag up, its already being reviewed.

    I don’t get the point- who made this rule?

  5. Handshake Game last year: Coach Schwartz is caught on tv yelling “Know the rules” to Harbaugh. This is why Harbaugh punked him after the game.

    Karma. Niners fans everywhere are laughing at this one. Keep putting the Lions on Thanksgiving Day. Immature players and coaches….great entertainment.

  6. bahahahahahahahahaha it couldn’t have happened to a better team with an ass clown for a coach! that’s karma for the suh kick in the nut’s of shaub.

  7. That officiating is just as bad if not worse than the replacement refs. And what a lame rule making it a penalty to throw the challenge flag.

  8. Regular refs, there have been more incorrect calls unders your watch than the replacement refs. So many whoppers under these refs. Wasn’t one of the sticking points the fact that refs didnt want bad refs benched???

  9. LOL I LOVE that this is the sole nationally televised game at the moment and all eyes are on it.

    The media has no choice but to acknowledge this. I want to see every amount of scrutiny that the replacements got for “ruining the integrity of the game”

  10. It should not matter that Schwartz throws the challenge flag. They say that you cannot benefit from throwing a flag when you are not allowed to. Well, a scoring play
    is reviewable anyways, SO how was he gaining any advantage by throwing the flag?? He wasn;t! It was going to be reviewed anyways! Now if he throws it on an un-reviewable
    play then ok. But c’mon man! There is no way the NFL is going to let Detroit win this one. This is a sham!

  11. Terrible rule. Give the team the penalty of 15 yards after you make sure the scoring play should count or not. But how the hell does a head coach not know that on any scoring play you never throw a challenge flag.

  12. Its on the coach…too often the refs blow the whistle too quick. It would have been reviewed and all would be good. Big Mistake Coach…the refs missed it, thats why there is reviews

  13. The refs are taught not to blow this whistle if they aren’t sure if a player is down bc the booth review will protect the defense. How about play through the whistle. The refs did the right thing, the whistle wasn’t blown, Forcett kept playing, and the Lions stopped. Blame the Lions idiotic coach for not knowing the rules…

  14. That has to be one of the stupidest rules they have. Why would throwing the challenge flag negate a review that was already going to be conducted? It’s just way too harsh of a penalty.

  15. The nfl is terrible this year. And really this is on the league office for writing a rule which is designed to get calls wrong.

  16. As a Packer fan, let me recycle some advice that was given to us earlier in the year by lions fans… get over it.

  17. Anyone who wanted the “real” refs back need to shut up! Every week there are blown calls, however the major networks do not have the testicular fortitude to say anything like they did when they were locked out! What about the 1 minute plus running off the clock in the san fran-rams game 2 weeks ago when they were spotting the ball!? Oh soon we forget!

  18. That’s twice this rule has popped up in four days. Same thing happened to Mike Smith in Atlanta last Sunday.

  19. I want the refs to explain why they didnt huddle together to make sure they got the call right. This is not the same as automatic review inthe booth. THERE IS NOTHING IN THE RULE FOR A REF TO OVERTURN THEIR OWN CALL BY DISCUSSING IT VERBALLY.

    I am a Steelers fan, but the calls in the Giants game have nothing on this call. THe guy was so obviously down. Detroit is getting royally shafted.

  20. Just a stupid rule. I can’t believe the league would enforce that rule at the cost of the most accurate outcome. They have to man up.

  21. As a football fan that is another rule that makes no sense in the game.

    ALL TDs should be reviewable. Throwing a red flag shouldn’t take that away.

    Like how the bucs got robbed vs the saints with the receiver not able to re-establish when pushed out of the endzone.

  22. You don’t have to like the rule, but the officials followed the rules. The same people that are whining will be the same ones whining over a quick whistle. The replay on all scores is the checks and balances. But the Lions coach was too stupid to realize this.

  23. horrible call and an even worse rule. i’m surprised it hasnt happened more than once so far. penalize the team because their coach forgot that all scores are now automatically reviewed? soooo flippin stupid.

  24. It starts the top, that play shows that the Lions can’t refrain from making knee jerk reaction.

    Anytime you watch a Lions game you see Schwartz in an officials ear 80% of the time, all he has to do is confirm with him that its going to get reviewed by booth.

    He can’t play it cool just like the players Young Sr, and Suh to name a few.

  25. Wow, another team might have game stolen away from them. This rule will obviously get changed. They can only penalize them on kickoff. You cant give a team a TD. Schwartz reaction was normal. BS.

  26. There’s something wrong with any rule that does something other than making sure the right team wins the game.

    This rule flabbergasts me. It came up last week in the Falcons game and now it very well could cost the lions a game.

    Not that I’m a lions fan, just a shame to see a team get absolutely hosed. This is worse than the seahawks game in my opinion.

  27. People defending the refs that they should let the play go on if there is any doubt on a play, I agree on the general principle, but there was NO doubt on that play. His knee and elbow were both down and it was clear as hell.

    And explain to me why the refs can’t make up the call later on by being lenient on penalties and make sure they only call a penalty on Detroit if there is no doubt and vice versa

  28. I find it amusing listening to the network guys not even questioning the logicality of the call — the fact that the refs all managed to miss an obvious down ball, and the foolishness of this particular rule. The idea is to get the call RIGHT, not make arbitrary rules that get it WRONG.

    The league will likely get rid of this at the end of the year. They SHOULD get rid of it immediately. Twice in a week, it has screwed things up, and this one, it could very well change the outcome.

    By the way Im a Packers fan, and have no use for the Lions, but they were jobbed here.

  29. stupid rule that the play becomes unchallengable. play should still be reviewed, shwarts should just be charged with a challenge. I’ve seen Mike McCarthy get screwed on the same rule earlier in the year, and I believe bellichek was too.

  30. Schwartz is always way to emotional,and again lost his cool.He is now pacing the sidelines shaking his head still upset about the TD.He needs to forget about till the game is over.

  31. Does this mean that a coach can strategically negate a review by throwing a challenge flag on a play that he knows will go against his favor?

  32. Yet his same thing happened just last week during the falcons/ cards game. Except it was on a Jason Snelling turnover (turnovers automatically reviewed also) I have seen stories posted about it on every major web site since last weekend. You would almost have to live in a cave to not know the rule at this point. Normally with every rule (even the stupid ones) I can see a reason as to why the rule was made. This one however I can not see where it helps or protects anyone. Am I missing something?

  33. So explain to me why this penalty is not issued more often? How many times have we seen coaches throw flags and then told by the ref that tthey need to pick it up because it is not reviewable. if anything, those kind of wrong challenges delay the game more than this.

  34. To me this is more on Schwartz, since his bonehead move is what ultimately let the TD stand…The refs’ bad call gets overturned otherwise.

  35. Crappy way to score a TD ….and to all the “karma” peeps…come on…I haven’t hated that word this much since Culture Club…karma is as real as Santa and the Easter bunny…

  36. I can understand, or at least accept that throwing the red flag on a play that is automatically reviewed is a penalty. To some degree, it delays the game, so I get it.

    But, the fact that the play is then NOT reviewed makes no sense. That’s like the kid taking his ball and going home because he wasn’t getting his way or something. The whole point of the review is to make sure the correct call is made, not to punish one team or the other for a misjudgement made by the officials. Too much focus is being put on the refs/rules/procedure. The point of the rules should be to protect the integrity of the game, not nitpick over how plays are called. Furthermore, I miss hockey. Okay I’m done, happy thanksgiving.

  37. “not only are you penalized 15 yards, but the play is no longer reviewed.”

    That is about the dumbest thing EVER. How about getting it right no matter if a flag is thrown?

    Are you saying if he then would have tripped and is downed at the one, it’s okay to throw the flag. WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE???

  38. Section 9 of NFL Rulebook

    “Penalty: For initiating a challenge when a team is prohibited from doing so: Loss of 15 yards.”

    The penalty is a 15 yard penalty. The touchdown still should have been reviewed and the penalty assessed from the spot Forsett was down. The NFL officiating and rulings this season have been total garbage. Its time to simply stop supporting the NFL until changes are made.

  39. What’s stopping a team from throwing a flag to ensure a scoring play is not reviewed? If Houston had of thrown the flag would this play still not be reviewed?

  40. thevolcanokid | Nov 22, 2012, 3:07 PM EST
    What happens if Houston throws the challenge flag before the play is reviewed? I’d take a 15 yard penalty on a meaningless kickoff for a free TD run.

    GREAT POINT!!!!! I wonder what happens there?

  41. What happens if kubiak challenges that play immediately?

    The officials say “no, we wont review it!!” and kubiak says “thank you, sir. We’ll gladly take that 15 yd penalty”

  42. While the call was incorrect it wasnt as bad as the article states. The runner’s motion didn’t really stop as he hit the ground. With Refs trained not to vote an early whistle which isn’t overturnable they let the play continue where it was plausible that the runner never touched the ground and let video sort it out at the end. Just Schwarz premature flagellation prevented that from happening.

  43. Just so stupid. Like the NFL wants to fail. So if you throw a red flag on a TD, you not only get a 15 yard penalty, but the other team gets 7 points for free.

    So you could literally fask mask somebody and twist them around. Sure you will get 15 yards and might be fined, but that is nowhere near 15 yards and 7 points. Throwing a red flag is now THE WORST THING TO DO in the NFL.

    What a joke.

  44. Bad non-call, yes. Bad rule, no. Too many times have coaches attempted to get a free timeout by throwing the challenge flag on a non-reviewable play, or to influence officials point of view or question themselves due to being pressured by highly-paid famous sideliners.

    Same thing would happened if Forsett had the ball stripped before a knee was down on that play, Lions recovered, officials called him as down, and Schwartz thru the flag. Play would not be reviewed, Lions don’t get possession.

    Do something against the rules, you get penalized. Coach knows that better than anyone else on the field.

  45. it’s funny people are saying the ref’s should have seen him down it was clear right??? yeah in slow motion, you have to remember they are watching at full speed and how do you know if there wasn’t another player blocking there view? plain and simple, play until the whistle blows! if it were a lion running back and he wasn’t down and the ref’s blew the whistle you’d be screaming too. your coach should know the rules! this isn’t week one is it? didn’t think so. blame the hot headed coach who threw the flag prematurely.

  46. and what’s up with the lion’s leap? jumping into the stands after a score? funny i thought that was a packers thing? i guess the lions can’t come up with there own stuff (unless there stomping on someone).

  47. The rule is there to prevent a coach from delaying the extra point by throwing the flag giving more time to the booth upstairs. Otherwise coaches would throw the flag every scoring play and just say oops.

  48. This one is on Schwartz all the way! True, the refs missed the call but what most fans can’t get through their thick skulls is that the refs don’t see the play in slow motion and in multiple camera angles. They only get one view and it happens so fast. It looked like Forsett might have kept his knee up until you saw the replay in slow motion and saw that his knee and elbow were clearly down.

    The refs did the right thing if they were not sure and let the play continue. It’s better to let it play out because it is correctable by review if you let it play out and the call was wrong. If the blew the whistle and Forsett was not down, there is nothing they can do to correct that.

    This one is on Schwartz all the way. He should have known that all scoring plays are reviewed. He should have also known that if he throws the challenge flag on an automatic review, then that is a penalty and erases the review. This happened a few weeks ago in a similar situation. It is inexcusable for Schwartz to either not know this rule or know it and break the rule anyways. Either way, he made a boneheaded mistake.

    Schwartz cost his team 7 points plain and simple. That’s a fact. If he followed the rules, it would have been an 8 yard gain for Forsett. Instead, he made a mistake that cost his team.

  49. Thats a bogus excuse. Why not enforce the penalty from where the play ends regardless of whether the play is overruled or not? This way there is still a penalty, but the actual play is still ruled right?

  50. First mistake: Lions fail to play through the whistle.

    Second mistake: Refs miss the RB being down.

    Third mistake: Schwartz throws a challenge flag on a scoring play that would have been reviewed, making it unreviewable.

    Lions lose. 2-1.

    Discipline. Lions. Discipline.

  51. The only thing dumber than that rule is Jim Schwartz. The same thing came into play LAST WEEK with Atlanta. It was obviously a bad call but it clearly would have been overturned by replay if Schwartz hadn’t blown it like that. No wonder that team is so undisciplined.

    Also, Suh kicks people in the balls. I don’t care about how much Detroit has suffered. Screw them.

  52. Blame this one on Mike Tice lol. Tice (as Vikings HC) used to throw the challenge flag 15 times a game to get free timeouts. Thats a big part of why they made throwing a illegal challenge flag a penalty.

  53. Refs cheated for the Texans last week. Foster fumbled at the goal line with them down 34-20. Somehow no review, nor challenge (Mularkey’s fault). They score on the next play, then manage to go right down the field after getting a three and out. And you saw OT…

    Same thing is about to happen…

  54. @wickedawg.

    If players aren’t exempt from illegal hits that they can’t pull back from, then the refs shouldn’t get a pass because they don’t see the game in slow motion.

  55. All scoring plays are reviewed automatically. They don’t need to stall for extra time. It’s already being reviewed. They will hold the play up until they get a go from upstairs.

    You gain nothing by throwing a challenge flag on a scoring play or turnover. Play is stopped! Play is reviewed.

  56. The NFL uses replay to ensure that a correct call is made. They added to that premise by automatically reviewing all scoring plays and turnovers. Writing a rule such as this undermines the entire replay concept with absolutely ZERO benefit. This rule needs to be removed. Two teams have been hurt by this ridiculous rule so far this year.

  57. If you eliminate all the loony-tune commenters who merely want to bad mouth Schwartz, it is easy to see how irate genuine football fans are about another NFL executed situation. If you can, ask any athletic game official with some years of experience and you will find they try to help coaches avoid negativity. It won’t matter what level, HS, college, NFL or peewee, just ask them. I didn’t see the play, fast or slow, but I do know the Roger-led NFL has done it again.

  58. Yes, it was a bad call and a bad rule. However that IS therule and Schwartz should have known that. If he just let the refs review it like they were going to, there would have been no issue.

    But either Schwartz was too stupid to not know the rule or he was so stupid that he did know the rule and did know the consequences but chose to ignore it. Which one is worse? Either way, Schwartz is stupid.

  59. For all the grief the replacement refs got, the regular refs aren’t much better. You see just as many mistakes now as you did with the replacements… and this was probably the worst one of the year.

  60. This was clearly a terrible call by the refs, nobody disputes that.

    The whole rule about not being able to review it because a coach threw the red flag is mind boggling in its stupidity. No game should be willing to just accept a bad call, which is exactly what the NFL is doing with this rule.

    All that being said, Schwartz gets paid a lot of money to know the rules, and a lot of money to keep his head on straight during the game and give the Lions the best chance to win the game. He failed to do that today. If Schwartz were as good at his job as he thiks he is, the Lions would have a few more wins during his tenure.

  61. can’t blame the refs on that one. that play happened so fast in real time. I figured its best to just let it play out and fix it later instead of blowing the whistle when he wasn’t really down. Schwartz just really needs to know the rules

  62. The NFL uses replay to ensure that a correct call is made. They added to that premise by automatically reviewing all scoring plays and turnovers. Writing a rule such as this undermines the entire replay concept with absolutely ZERO benefit. This rule needs to be removed. Two teams have been hurt by this ridiculous rule so far this year.

    This is the correct answer here…that rule basically wipes out the rule that ensures scoring plays are reviewed…talk about dumb.

    Just another way for the NFL and the refs to screw over another team.

  63. Unfortunate play and result….that goes without saying…but…

    Ref’s miss calls all the time. That is why there is a replay system. Had the play been reviewed, the mistake would have been seen and corrected by the refs.

    The ONLY thing that could keep that play from being reviewed, was something stupid like a coach throwing a challenge flag on a automatically reviewed play. And here comes Jim Schwartz….providing the only possible way to screw this up.

    Don’t blame the refs, the missed it, which happens and they would have corrected it. But by rule, the challenge flag prevented them from correcting it.

    If you don’t like the rule, change it. If you get paid to know the rules…..know them.

  64. If the reason for this rule to keep the game going, then it’s stupid.

    If the NFL doesn’t want coaches challenging non-challengeable plays, then penalize those instances.

    Saying a coach is deliberately trying to slow the game down when the play is stopped is asinine.

  65. two wrongs don’t make a right. Schwartz should not have thrown flag. Call should have been reviewed then reversed. 15 yards marched off against Detroit. Game resumed from there. Getting it right supercedes all else!

  66. kind of sums up the Lions…they had this game in the bag so many times is almost unimaginable that they could lose – but they did.

    They took two sacks late in the game in FG range with a chance to go up two scores. They fumbled in OT in FG range, they missed a 47 yard FG.

    This team plays dumb – they are a reflection of their coach.

  67. the reason instant replay is in the game is to first and foremost get the call right. its that simple. stupid rule to make the play non-reviewable. penalize with yardage. coaches should know the rules, but that rule is stupid.

  68. Texanfan here.

    He was down. Blown call. Stupid rule needs changing.

    But I’m buying a lottery tickey tonight and I’m keeping it if I win.

  69. I didn’t care who won this game but even I knew that the coach should not have thrown the red flag on a play that automatically is reviewed. However, I did not know it wouldn’t be reviewable since he did throw the red flag but I can only assume that the coach new that or at least should have. All of that being said, there was a lot of game to be played yet so to say this game was won by Houston because of this call is ridiculous.

  70. What exactly was a “bad call”? Sure they didn’t whistle him down but the whole purpose of reviewing ALL scoring plays is for this exact situation. If the review had been done, it would have been called back. It’s not the Texans’ fault for playing to the whistle, it’s not the refs’ fault they couldn’t review it. It is solely the fault of Schwartz that this touchdown stood as called. Bad rule, right call.

  71. i was at the game and when the runner was down, the sideline officials each went to the yard line where they thought he was down. then when he got up and ran, they both scattered so they wouldn’t be seen

  72. To those of you who are slamming Schwartz for “not knowing the rules”, I submit that none of you have ever participated in sports above the level of Little League. In the light of the circumstances, I imagine Lombardi would have been in the middle of the field with his red flag and asking if anyone had another he could throw. The situation was so absurd that I am sure the last thing in Schwartz’s mind was the unbelievable rule about cancelling review. If you don’t agree, then “beer slow pitch softball” games are probably the limit of your “competition”.

  73. how is this consistent with other rules? do you get a penalty when you throw the flag to challenge a down by contact penalty when there is no touchdown? c’mon man!

  74. I watch less football nowadays. Things like this are a big reason why. The NFL has very little integrity now, allowing MASSIVE blown calls like that to stand. Disgusting.

  75. “To those of you who are slamming Schwartz for “not knowing the rules”, I submit that none of you have ever participated in sports above the level of Little League. In the light of the circumstances, I imagine Lombardi would have been in the middle of the field with his red flag and asking if anyone had another he could throw. The situation was so absurd that I am sure the last thing in Schwartz’s mind was the unbelievable rule about cancelling review. If you don’t agree, then “beer slow pitch softball” games are probably the limit of your “competition”.”

    Finally–someone who gets it. It’s easy for people to say, “I know the rule,” but none of them had to deal with two previous quarters of bad officiating before Schwartz acted like a normal human being and had seen enough. 99% of us would have done the same exact thing and the other 1% doesn’t have a pulse.

  76. the Raider game today is why you let the play continue. The inadvertent whistle can’t be fixed. Letting them play can be….terrible officiating in the Raider game.

  77. In all fairness, credit should be given to Schwartz, with an assist to the refs.

    Know the rules, Mr. Soon-To-Be-Fired.

  78. Also from NOT a Lions fan…

    The other horrible no-call was (I believe) in the series after this blown call. Schaub runs basically straight backward 10-15 yds on a pass play, clearly intentionally grounded the ball, and no call. Also of note, the commentators did not even mention it. I think it would have been either 3rd and 20-25 or 4th and 20-25. The Texans ended up going down for a FG on that drive.

    It really seemed like in 2 series, they were handed 10 points.

  79. The NFL is a complete joke.

    The rest of the day on Thanksgiving the accouncers kept repeating the lie that EVERY SCORING PLAY is reviewed. NO IT ISN”T. LIES!!!

    Proof? See LIONS GAME>

  80. the rule is dumb. what if the texans threw a challenge flag then what? lol would they have locked in a touchdown and prevented a booth review?

  81. Here’s an honest question on this one: I wonder if there is video evidence on when Schwartz threw the flag? I’d bet dollars to doughnuts it was long before Forsett ever entered in the end zone.

  82. “the rule is dumb. what if the texans threw a challenge flag then what? lol would they have locked in a touchdown and prevented a booth review?”

    No. A team can’t stop a replay to their benefit.

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