With the Lions already trailing 10-6 and the Eagles driving
inside the 5-yard line midway through the third quarter, Schwartz had to
make a tough call to keep his team from falling too far behind.
An incomplete pass from Mike Vick out to the left of the
line of scrimmage had the Eagles staring down second and goal, but Schwartz had
something else in mind.
The Lions head coach challenged the ruling of an incomplete pass, hoping that the play would be called a backward pass and fumble that was
recovered by Detroit. Schwartz knew the
review was a long shot, but figured there was plenty to be gained even if the
decision didn't go his way, according to the Detroit Free Press.
"A turnover in the red zone, it's worth too much to let
that opportunity pass by," Schwartz said. "And the timeout helped
The Lions were able to regroup during the review, putting
together an impressive goal-line stand and holding Philadelphia to just a field
goal on the drive.
Schwartz admitted that his thinking wasn't really based
around the review itself, but rather giving his team a breather and taking the
momentum out from under the Eagles.
"They sort of had us on our heels," Schwartz said.
"It was one of those basketball-type time outs. [Coaches] said it was
close and I said, 'Hey, if it's close I'm going to challenge this.'"
That same strategy, often used by basketball coaches to slow down an opposing team as it gains momentum, appeared to work brilliantly against the Eagles on that
drive and may have even helped Detroit storm back to their eventual 26-23
Schwartz's strategies don't always include the most clear or
seemingly rational decisions, but his style works. The Lions may still only be
2-3 on the season, but if this team continues to show more of what we saw on
Sunday, then there may be hope yet.