Making Sense of Justin Forsett's Controversial TD Run

Jesse ReedCorrespondent INovember 22, 2012

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 18: Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz watches the action during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field on November 18, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Jim Schwartz's ill-advised decision to throw the red challenge flag gave the Houston Texans an undeserved touchdown on Thanksgiving. The Detroit Lions ended up losing the game, 34-31.

Justin Forsett took a handoff at his own 19-yard line, was brought to the ground by a couple of Lions defenders, then popped back up and ran 81 yards to the end zone. 

The referees never whistled him down by contact, so the ruling on the field was that Forsett had scored a touchdown. 

All touchdown plays are reviewed automatically by the booth, yet Schwartz threw the red challenge flag, which, as it turns out, was the worst possible thing he could have done. 

ESPN Stats & Info has the inside scoop on the rule:…

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 22, 2012


We can all agree that this rule is just as ill-advised as Schwartz's decision to throw the challenge flag, but rules are rules, and head coaches are supposed to know them.

Besides, as Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times points out:

In the handshake game last season, didn't Jim Schwartz make fun of Jim Harbaugh for challenging a touchdown? Am I remembering that right?

— Sam Farmer(@LATimesfarmer) November 22, 2012


Yes, Sam, you remembered correctly.

Jim Harbaugh did the same thing last year in Detroit and was burned just as badly as Schwartz on this fine Thanksgiving day. Schwartz did taunt Harbaugh, yelling across the field after Harbaugh's faux pas, "Learn the rules, Harbaugh!"

So, as stupid as the rule is, it's still a rule Schwartz knew firsthand.

He immediately knew he made a mistake too, as he sheepishly pointed to his own chest and kept saying, "My fault" on the sidelines.  

The NFL needs to take a closer look at this rule after the 2012 season, but for now, the rule stands.


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