Jim Schwartz's Hot Seat Was Just Set on Fire

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistNovember 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 has to be on his way out as the head coach of the Detroit Lions following an overtime loss to the Houston Texans on Thanksgiving day. 

The Lions now sit at 4-7 after entering the season with Super Bowl expectations. Schwartz made several head-scratching mistakes during the game against the Texans, but it's not anything new if you've been following the Lions over the past year-and-a-half.

Detroit has struggled with its image, most notably with off-the-field incidents with Ndamukong Suh and Schwartz himself when he engaged in a postgame scuffle with San Francisco 49ers head coach John Harabaugh. 

Most recently, Schwartz had to suspend wideout Titus Young for a game after he threw a tantrum on the sideline the preceding week, which Schwartz deemed as an action that was detrimental to the team. 

That's about the only thing right Schwartz has done all season.

Outside of having no control over his locker room, Schwartz struggles with in-game scenarios. He made two crucial mistakes that cost his team the game on Thanksgiving. 

In the third quarter, Texans running back Justin Forsett ran for an 81-yard touchdown, but was clearly down after about eight yards when his elbow and then his knee touched the turf. The referees ruled the play a touchdown, which would have been automatically reviewed upstairs. 

Instead, Schwartz got emotional and overreacted by tossing the red challenge flag seconds after Forsett entered the end zone. 

Not only did Schwartz draw a 15-yard penalty on the proceeding kickoff, he eliminated any possibility of the booth to over-turn the touchdown on the field. It was clear Forsett was down, and the booth could have corrected the mistake. 

As a result, the Texans got a free touchdown courtesy of Schwartz's overreaction. His team would go on to lose. 

Alas, Schwartz had a chance to redeem himself in overtime. His team faced a 3rd-and-11 from a position on the field that would have given the Lions a shot at a game-winning 47-yard field goal. 

Once again, Schwartz cost his team the game. Instead of running the ball on third down to get his kicker a shorter field goal attempt, he elected to make Jason Hanson go for the 47-yarder. 

As Bill Simmons of Grantland put it on Twitter, Schwartz's decision didn't make a lot of sense no matter how you slice it:

 

This is amazing. Has anyone ever seen a team kick an OT 47 yard FG on 3rd and 11 before? Can we do a concussion test on Jim Schwartz?

— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) November 22, 2012

 

Hanson missed the third-down attempt, and the Texans went on to win the game on a chip shot field foal. 

Schwartz was on the hot seat entering the game. He has one of the more talented teams in the NFL, but once again has them residing in the cellar of the NFC North with no shot at the postseason. 

Despite having the most prolific passing attack in the NFL behind the arm of Matthew Stafford and the NFL's best receiver in Calvin Johnson, the offense is simply middle-of-the-pack. The team averages 302 passing yards per game, but only musters 24 points per game. 

That's simply not good enough for a team residing in the same division as Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.

The Lions' defense is yet again one of the mediocre units in the NFC, surrendering over 26 points per game.

It's time for Jim Schwartz to go. He did a great job of turning things around for the franchise and getting the Lions to this point, but it's clear Schwartz isn't capable of taking the Lions to the next level.  

Schwartz may last the rest of the season with the Lions fighting a war of attrition, but there's no way he'll be the coach in 2013 with the way things have been negatively snowballing for him in Detroit.