Texans come back to beat the Lions, with help from the refs


It’s not a happy Thanksgiving in Detroit. And Lions fans are particularly unhappy with the officials.

In a game the Lions led most of the way, the Texans came back to tie the game 31-31 late in the fourth quarter, then won 34-31 in overtime, thanks in large part to terrible officiating.

The game featured a blown call by the officials that was as bad as anything we saw from the replacement refs while the regular officials were locked out during the first three weeks of the season: Texans running back Justin Forsett was allowed to get up and run for an 81-yard touchdown even though he had clearly been tackled after eight yards. The Lions can also blame a stupid challenge from coach Jim Schwartz, and a stupid NFL rule that says the challenge negates the referee’s ability to review the play.

There were also missed calls on hits to both quarterbacks, including J.J. Watt using the crown of his helmet to hit Matthew Stafford in the chin on the Lions’ final drive of the fourth quarter, a penalty that would have moved Detroit into field goal range if it had been called. (Watt’s hit was clearly illegal, and a nearly identical hit by Nick Perry of the Packers was correctly called earlier this season.)

We then had a back-and-forth overtime session featuring missed field goals from both teams and a costly fumble from Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew. In the end, a Texans field goal sealed the deal.

Lions receiver Calvin Johnson had a great game, and Lions receiver Ryan Broyles had his first career start and responded with a 100-yard game. But that wasn’t enough. For the Texans, Watt had three sacks, one on the first play of the game and two more late in the game, both of which came on third downs and both of which took the Lions out of field goal range. But while Watt is a huge presence as a pass rusher, the lack of depth in the secondary is a major concern for the Texans. With Johnathan Joseph out, Houston simply had no answer for Detroit’s passing game on the plays when Stafford had enough time to throw.

In the end, however, the Texans (10-1), who got a tremendous performance from receiver Andre Johnson, were able to overcome their defensive liabilities and put 34 points on the board. The Lions (4-7) have to put a lot of blame on their defense, and on their mistakes in overtime. But in the wake of this game, the mistakes from the officials will take center stage.

102 responses to “Texans come back to beat the Lions, with help from the refs

  1. Even if you wanna give Schwartz a pass on the challenge fiasco (and I don’t), the decision to kick a 47 yarder on third down is as bad as it gets. I think he’s gonna lose his job at seasons end.

  2. yes it was a bad call but detroit had an oppurtunity to win the game and there kicker missed. no excuse’s detroit take the loss you deserve it. your coach made the bad call non reviewable.

  3. Jim Schwartz is a moron, not just for challenging the scoring play but also for kicking a field gold on 3rd and 11. It’s not a chip shot, try to get more yards…

    Houston should be 7-3

  4. I’m sorry but the refs role in this is being overblown. Should they have called him down? Probably. But you always want refs to rule on the side of caution when blowing the whistle- the worst is when they mistakenly blow a play dead.

    Now, under the replay system the play would have been quickly reversed, no harm done. This was on Schwartz, he’s an idiot for not knowing the rule- especially since it came into play in a game last weekend.

  5. Don’t forget about that punt that was touched by a Houston player and recovered by Detroit that Walt Coleman inexplicably ruled Houston ball even after reviewing it. That was a game changer too.

  6. Refs did rob the Lions. But Schwartz’s playcalling in the final 20 min was atrocious. So many times, Det was past the 45 in Texans territory and they couldnt score a single FG out of those many chances? And they play it too safe for a 47 yarder? Since when is 47 yards automatic? And so many times, they passed when they shou/ld have mixed in a run and vice versa.

    Has Det heard of short dumpoffs to get a few yards?

  7. Fire Schwartz. Fine that ref. And stick a fork in the Lions. That franchise is pathetic. Thanksgiving day at home after losing previous 8 games on this day and they still can’t get it done, SMH

  8. Offseason to do list: Fire Cunningham, fire Linehan, cut Logan, trade Pettigrew, draft best available center to replace Riaola. It’s that easy Detroit.

  9. “But in the wake of this game, the mistakes from the officials will take center stage.”

    As well they should.

    Before anybody decides that I’m a bitter Lions fan, I’m actually a Bills fan, so I’ve got no horse in this race, but I feel dirty after watching that game. The integrity of the game has been so incredibly damaged by the replacement referees fiasco and the continued ATROCIOUS officiating that is allowed to go on without the slightest hint of accountability or transparency.

    It makes me really sad for future generations as the sport of football they will have left will be a pale shadow compared to the great game that made all these guys so much money that they can totally neglect their stewardship in favor of stuffing even more cash in their pockets.

  10. Missed call on the punt that hit the Texans player and wasn’t ruled a turn over. Missed call on the 81 yard TD-run. Missed calls all over the game but as a lions fan coach cant throw that flag. The refs are gonna suck. Its just simply in their nature but you cant respond by making your own mistakes.

  11. What a good game even tho my team lost. They also missed a delay of game which they then converted a third down but oh well.

  12. BTW, Watt’s hit on Stafford was a clean hit. Watch the replay.
    He clearly plants his facemask into Staffords chest. He didn’t lead with his helmet, the top of his helmet hit Staffords facemask, but the hit was legal

  13. Put the Lions players in green and gold with a G on their helmet and this game would have been over in regulation…….you wouldn’t have seen any of those BS calls! Where was that offsides on the Lions to extend that OT drive by the Texans?? Really, where was it??? Not to mention the bad calls the entire game. Terrible officiating!

  14. Man…the Lions just keep shooting themselves in the foot. Nobody to blame but themselves. Their fans can complain all they want about that terrible call, but the fact is, Hanson had a chance to win it, and he choked.

  15. That so-called “blown call” by the refs would have been automatically reviewed and reversed IF the Detroit coach hadn’t thrown the red flag emotionally.

    Detroit coach blew that play more so than the refs.

  16. That call in the OT when the Texan caught the ball and fumbled, demonstrated that he had clear possession of the ball and the announcer agreed that the referee made a horrible call. That was a fumble and should have given the Lions possession of the ball. This cost the Lions the game. This officiating in this game was worse than that of the scabs in the first three weeks of the season. That ref should get fired.

  17. First off, Happy Thanksgiving. Second off, there is no excuse for that awful call, I feel for the Lions and their fans especially on a day like today. Unacceptable. Lastly, lets be honest. The Texans are a good team, but their record is better than they are, just like the Falcons.

  18. Its not the refs fault Schwartz challenged the play.

    I am not the most knowledgable fan, but even I know you can’t challenge TDs or turnovers, and I am not paid in millions of dollars.


    He was lined up in the nuetral zone thats lining up offsides. Its a penalty, and something the Lions did a few times today, and Sunday.

    If the team were to play with some discipline, they would know better than to line up offsides, but it starts at the top.

  19. Goodell should resign. He’s making a farce out of this league. The officiating is so poor these games are becoming unwatchable.

  20. @vikescry1 Bro, get your mom to proofread your posts before you click “submit.”. That’s 2 different articles now that I have to read your terrible repeated misuse of the word “there”. Don’t you realize that THERE are 3 different uses of the word? Where are your elementary school teachers? THEY’RE obviously not qualified, and should lose THEIR teaching licenses.

  21. ANd the refs win!!!!!!!!!
    What a sham this NFL has become when it comes to the Lions games!
    At least all of America got to see what we Lions fans see all too often.
    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  22. What about the play in the first half when Schwartz challenged the Texans touching the punt which it clearly did and the refs still gave the ball to Texans after they reviewed it. Horrible.

  23. Schwartz needs to stop acting like a 10 year old on the sideline and start being a leader. It’s no surprise his players are so indisciplined when they are just following his example.

  24. the Refs have had direction from the NFL for the last couple of years to let doubtful plays continue until the runner is down or ball is dead for sure… then blow the whistle……

    this was because all the fans were moaning about plays being blown dead when it was still live and killing big turnover and TD plays that should have been good….

    as a fan I much prefer the sport playing until its dead for sure… and we can’t have it both ways

    that means this is 100% on Schwartz for not keeping his head, throwing the challenge, and losing 7 points over it…..

  25. Jim Schwartz is NOT a NFL head coach and should be fired by the end of the day.

    Lions will go no where under him

  26. Everyone should look up Walt Coleman’s bio on Wikipedia. Never realized how many important botched calls this clown has made throughout his career. Of course, the refs can never be criticized and are never held accountable by the league.

    Once again people, as they said during Watergate, “follow the money…”

  27. Smith has quite the agenda today. Thinks Suh’s kick of Schaub’s groin was an “accident”, and no mention of the multiple no-calls on DPI by the Lions.

  28. As a Texans fan I completely expected it to come back but coach throwing the flag is a rule, and it happened last week with the cowboys, so no sympathy for him. Also where was the flag when they hit Walter in mid air before the ball was near him, Suh’s crotch kick, suh putting late hits on schaub, that line man shoving watt around after every play. I’m not sure how there wasn’t a fight the refs just let everything get out of hand. Oh well, hopefully the secondary heals after this long break.

  29. Breaking news from real football fans: The refs did nothing to blow this game. They would have reviewed the play and said he was down by contact. Schwartz didn’t know the rules and after that they couldn’t review the play. Blame your coach..not the refs…

  30. Was Forsett down? Yes. But it would still have been Texans ball and the drive may well have continued and resulted in a TD. Never know, but Schwartz has nobody to blame…and the Lions had plenty of other chances.
    Watt’s hit on Stafford was clean but Suh should have been flagged if not ejected for kicking Schaub in the crotch.

  31. A TON of overreactions here.

    I totally agree with the blown call and Lions fans being upset. But that hit from Watt that MDS is referencing was NOT an illegal hit. Watt hit him square in the chest, wrapped his arm and drove through. No penalty.

    The Lions had multiple opportunities to put the game away. They didn’t lose because of the refs, they lost because they didn’t finish and do the little things.

    Although I’m sure Lions fans won’t see it that way.

  32. Everyone keeps saying “but they had a chance”. It doesn’t matter they shouldn’t have had to even play overtime they lost that game because of numerous terrible calls. Someone should be held accountable

  33. In 40 years of Lions football their has been more pain, more humiliation, more embarrassment foisted upon Lions fans…but I have never seen a Lions Head Coach score a touchdown for the opposing team. I mean, this is hilarious. Hollywood couldn’t write a better script. If the players can’t give a win away, if the opposing team can’t secure a win, then the Lions coaches will be right there to hand the win to the Texans.

  34. xxwhodatxx says: Nov 22, 2012 5:20 PM

    “Everyone keeps saying “but they had a chance”. It doesn’t matter they shouldn’t have had to even play overtime they lost that game because of numerous terrible calls. Someone should be held accountable.”

    If I was a Lions fan I’d hold Schwartz accountable…Yes, the call sucked, but, stupid rule or not, Schwartz shoulda known better. This is on him.

  35. The refs don’t make up the rules, they enforce them. It’s not the refs’ fault Schwartz threw the flag. What were they supposed to do? “Oh he threw the flag but that’s a dumb rule so we’ll let it slide.” No! It IS a horrible rule but IT IS THE RULE for now anyway. Look, I’m a Texans fan but I can objectively say it was more than just that call that was questionable but this one is the one everyone will talk about.

  36. And he was not “clearly” down in real time which is why the whistle wasnt blown. If Schwartz had let them review it, it would have been caught! And you want to talk about no calls? How about all the no calls on Suh? Lions can’t “blame” anyone but themselves. Schwartz and Hanson are both Lions. Lions lost this game.

  37. deathonwings410 says: Nov 22, 2012 4:48 PM

    “The NFL is really pushing Houston now.”

    Uh-huh…And Jim Schwartz wanted to keep his employer happy.

  38. Hey Schwartz! How ya like dem Bulls on Parade!!!!

    (Thats like a discount double check except with bulls ya know…..)

  39. “Texans come back to beat the Lions, with help from the refs”

    Wasn’t the refs it was dumass SCHWARTZ.

    On down by contact calls the refs always let it go if there is a question at all, knowing it can be reviewed. But if you call it down, you can’t then award a TD if a review shows the runner was not down.

  40. Can’t blame the refs for this game. Touchdown by forsett would have been overturned if not for Schwartz. Lions were still up by 3 after this play. Refs missed several interference calls against lions defenders who made contact with texan receivers early. Turnovers and the missed field goal hurt the lions more. Lions defense couldn’t get off the field at the end of the game. 100+ yards for arian foster, 100+ receiving yards for andre johnson. By the end of the game texans were without 5 starters. Great win on the road for the texans! Hopefully they will be healthier when the texans play their next game.

  41. The Lions deserved to lose after the always classy Suh kicked Schaub in the groin. Why exactly is this guy still in the league?

  42. dolphins1121, there’s a reason it’s called school these days. Used to be called school, but that no longer applies.

  43. Please, the Texans were begging the Lions to beat them and the they were too mentally weak to do the job.

  44. larryboodry says:
    Nov 22, 2012 5:37

    If I was a Lions fan I’d hold Schwartz accountable…Yes, the call sucked, but, stupid rule or not, Schwartz shoulda known better. This is on him.


    I agree, but in the heat of the moment on a non-call as egregious as that its understandable. I’m not a lions fan in the least, I just don’t like teams winning on bad calls.

  45. The Lions played their hearts out and put on a good show… but once again they find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and leave their fans shaking their heads.

  46. Schwartz should be ashamed of himself. Paid millions of dollars for a job at the highest level of his profession and he doesn’t know the rules.

    What a disgrace. The Lions owner should dock him a substantial amount from his pay at the very least.

  47. I saw what seemed to be like at least 10 mistakes by the officials in this game, but that’s not unusual they usually make tons of little mistakes, although this one had some peculiar ones that were head scratchers.

    Referees are never going to wake up one day and be perfect, the problem is with the league and the mngmt of the game by not having a good system of rules to prevent these huge quantities of little mistakes that influence the outcomes of games. It’s really sloppy and messy in so many different areas and it’s the league that has to take action and get it fixed otherwise there will always be complaints with the refs.

    There is no sport that comes close to having problems with officiating the way the NFL does.

  48. I won’t rehash the calls already discussed, but that phantom offsides penalty that extended the Texans’ drive from the 5 yard line was also pretty bogus. The replay showed that it was more of an optical illusion. It was either late in the 4th quarter, or OT…I can’t remember already.

  49. How many dirty hits did Suh put on Schaub without a flag? I counted at least 3. Officiating wasn’t great, but it went both ways.

  50. midway through the game while i was yelling at the defense I came to one realization. This was a defense that has played a lot in the last 4 days which makes you not as effective but on top of that this was a defense that was missing stars like cushing (ok he will be gone for the whole year so you can kind of negate that) but also Joseph their best secondary player…cody (could those runs down the middle have been stopped by him?); then as the game started we lost reed and then we lost james.

    now reed and james are not having great years but that hurts soo much when you are already beat up, playing your second game in 4 days following a OT game and a bruiser just a week before in chicago.

    But when that defense needed to come through, boy it came through. THREE times the lions started 40 or better in the 4th and OT and came with 0 points. That was some effort!!!!

  51. First of all, to the PATRIOT Fans, you guys ought to be 9-1(Remember Arizona and Seattle!), maybe 10-0 if you guys beat Baltimore. You guys have a great team, so we’ll see in a couple of weeks. Clearly, Detroit should have won the game with all the Referee screw ups,same as Jacksonville last week, but give the Texans credit. They are Mentally Tough and Physically tough, something that wasn’t possible 2 years ago. However, if that Pass Rush and Pass Coverage doesn’t improve soon, this team isn’t going anywhere.

  52. To say the Lions lost because they left plays on the field is true. But to say the refs had nothing to do with that is flat out insane. Just as some will blame the Lions for losing it is also fair to blame the refs. Sure, had the Lions made more plays they would have won. BUT , at the same time, had the refs made the CORRECT calls the lions would have won! The Lions were supposed be playing the Texans today NOT the refs! It’s a sad day in the NFL to have a nationally televised game go the way this one did. Welcome to a Lions fans world!

  53. Schwartz is a hothead and cost his team a game. But somehow the hothead Lions fans here manage to blame the officials and even Goodell for the loss. Really? Wow! Lions fans are as ignorant as their coach. You deserve each other you losers. Face the facts. If your coach leaves the red flag in his pocket, you win. That’s the only thing that cost your team a win!

  54. What a game that was in Detroit today for us lions fans. Although the officiating was brutal, the Lions had numerous of chances to seal the deal and they didnt come through. Couple times down the stretch as the lions drove the ball when they were on the texans 45 they failed to advance the ball and put up the 3 pts.

    My god on the forset run though, clearly knee was on the ground. and a horrible rule…to negate a rule of reviewing every scoring touchdown with another rule?

  55. It seems many didn’t care about the 7 non-call personal fouls by the Lions on Schaub and Watt. And at least 3 non-call pass interference calls.

    Sure, the NFL is pushing Houston so much that the QB kicked in the groin and shoved down twice well after the play with no calls.

  56. There are so many bad comments but I found this was really funny.

    Really? Texans had help from refs. Did you watch the same game I did?


  57. If the JJ Watt hit was clean which it was, the Nick Perry hi on luck should have been as well. That penalty cost the Packers the Colts game.

  58. Bottom line, this continues to be one of those seasons for the Lions. It’s infuriating, but that’s just the way things go sometimes. Two games the Lions should have won that might have kept them in playoff contention.

    Here we are.

  59. You stupid east coast reporters have nothing to talk about since the Texans didn’t lose. Texans win out and go 3-0 in the playoffs.

  60. The Forsett play reminds me of the Packers-Saints game where they ruled the returner down, after he had fumbled and was still standing. The Saints missed a field goal on the same drive. Join the club.

  61. The lions got screwed today!! The challenge rule on scoring plays is stupid. I can see giving the Lions an unsportsmanlike conduct 15 yd penalty for Schwartz throwing the red flag, but to give the Texans 7 points is ridiculous!

  62. The Lions allowed themselves to be screwed today by matching every blown call with a bad play, blown play or bad play call by the offensive coordinator. If Chris Houston would’ve caught the gimme INT in the 4th, the Lions could’ve won. If Pettigrew would’ve caught the gimmes and not fumbled, the Lions could’ve won. If the coaching staff wouldn’t have bungled the offensive playing, the Lions could’ve won. If Schwartz knew the red flag rules…If a team wants to avoid the subjective whims of the officiating crew, the formula is simple: Make more plays than the opponent. Score more points. And stop being stupid.

  63. NFL needs to change this rule. Penalty yes, but disregarding a mandatory replay for a scoring play!!! That is a joke

    Out of order, I show you out of order. You don’t know what out of order is, Mr. Godell I’d show you, but I’m too old, I’m too tired, I’m too Stink’n blind. If I were the man I was five years ago, I’d take a FLAMETHROWER to this place

  64. What happens if the Texans had thrown the challenge flag? They would be penalized 15 yards and given the touchdown with no review? Awful rule. 15 yards is enough deterrent for coaches. No NFL rule should involve a punishment of “so we will refuse to verify the previous play”.

  65. @patsfan22: no, the Texans “should” be 10-1, because that’s what their record is. “You are what your record say you are.” Period.
    Did the ref’s blow some calls? Hell yes! That was the worst officiated game since the replacement ref’s were on the field.
    However, the Lions had a multitude of chances to win this game. But just like most of the games they’ve lost this season, the Lions didn’t do it.
    There would be a lot less to talk about had Jim Schwartz not f#*&% up by throwing a challenge flag, which prevented the replay that would have overturned the TD run. Stupid rule? Yeah. But Schwartz gets paid MILLIONS of dollars to be a head coach in the NFL…he should know the rules.

  66. It’s not the officiating, guys; the refs would have self-corrected had the goofy coach not thrown the flag. It’s the turnovers. It’s the Lions.

  67. Detroit, being the pro-UNION city it is, got exactly what they deserve from the UNION refs.

    Now, I want my hostess snacks back, you union jerks.

  68. Jim Schwartz, screams at other coaches across the field to “learn the rules”, yet he himself doesnt know the rules….

  69. When are the league rules going to make some real sense? The game should be fair and not detemined by lousy rules or lousy ref calls. Green Bay got screwed real bad too, but why do the Lions get terrible calls in away games and no less terrible calls at home? It stinks and it keeps happening every year.

  70. I remember Jim Harbaugh trying to challenge a TD against the Lions last year and Schwartz strutting around saying “Know the rules Harbaugh”. Lions played well today, this one is on the coach.

  71. My take is the officials got it wrong. The actual text of the relevant rules have been quoted elsewhere but in short, the rule says a review cannot be INITIATED if the team that would benefit does something that would delay the next snap (giving the replay official more time to decide).

    But in this case, the review was required by rule and therefore was automatically initiated the moment the ball carrier entered the end zone. The next snap was already being held for the review. From my reading of the quoted rules, there is no provision for stopping an already active review due to subsequent actions. The only result of the thrown challenge flag should have been the 15 yard penalty (note that the rule about incorrectly thrown challenge flags only calls for the 15 yards; the bit about making the play non-reviewable is a separate rule that in my opinion did not apply since the review was already under way by rule.

    Another way to look at it is the review was required by rule and nothing in any of the rules calls for negating that REQUIRED review. The rules only provide for prohibiting a not yet initiated review.

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