Rapid Reaction: Texans 34, Lions 31 (OT)
November, 22, 2012
By Kevin Seifert | ESPN.com
A few thoughts on Thursday's Thanksgiving Day events at Ford Field:
What it means: The Detroit Lions lost a wild game, 34-31, late in overtime to the Houston Texans, dropping their record to 4-7 after an afternoon that will be discussed for days -- if not weeks -- among Lions fans. In the end, Shayne Graham's 32-yard field goal gave the Texans the win -- and their only lead of the day. The Lions have now lost three consecutive games; they held fourth-quarter leads in the last two.
Question from overtime: Two Lions possessions in overtime reached Texans territory, but they couldn't score on either. One ended with Brandon Pettigrew's fumble at the Texans' 35-yard line, and the other when Jason Hanson's 47-yard field goal hit the right upright and fell short. Should Lions coach Jim Schwartz, who has had better days, have kicked on third down or should he have tried to get closer? I can't come down on him too hard for that one. Even in his 21st season, Hanson remains deadly accurate as a deep kicker, having made 12 of 14 attempts from at least 40 yards this season. To me, Schwartz was more to blame for another much-discussed play from this game. Namely …
Officials response: The NFL released a rule explanation that encapsulated what we discussed earlier about Justin Forsett's controversial 81-yard touchdown in the third quarter. The statement: "The Replay Official cannot initiate a review of any ruling against a team that commits a foul that delays the next snap, such as illegally throwing the challenge flag. For your reference, the same situation happened on a turnover last week in the Arizona-Atlanta game." The rule doesn't make a lot of sense and might well get changed after the season, but that doesn't mean anything at the moment. Officials almost certainly would have reversed the play, ruling Forsett down by contact, if Schwartz hadn't thrown his red challenge flag. Touchdowns are automatically reviewed by the on-site replay official, but Schwartz negated the review by creating a delay of game by throwing his red challenge flag when he wasn't eligible to. The play didn't cause the Lions' defeat, but Schwartz did make a big mistake that hurt his team's chances of winning.
Suh-kick 2.0: I guess it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in the headlines. We spent some time earlier Thursday discussing whether Suh's first-quarter kick to the groin of Texans quarterback Matt Schaub was intentional. We obviously can't read Suh's mind, and he wasn't exactly in a kicking position as he fell on his right side. But Suh's left foot clutched once and then made contact with Schaub. If it was completely accidental, a possibility we can't rule out, it was an awfully freak event. There is a segment of the public that is unwilling to give Suh the benefit of the doubt after his stomp of Green Bay Packers guard Evan Dietrich-Smith last Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, Suh also appeared to draw the ire of Schaub and Texans coach Gary Kubiak with a second-quarter takedown that bent back Schaub's right knee after he threw the ball.
High-octane output: The Lions offense had one of its better days of the season against a Texans defense that prefers to play man-to-man coverage. Mikel Leshoure's two-yard touchdown run was the Lions' first opening-possession touchdown of the season and only their second offensive touchdown in the first quarter this season. And while quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for 441 yards and two touchdowns, it's also worth noting that the Lions scored the first two rushing touchdowns of the season against the Texans.
What's next: The Lions will have a long weekend and then host the Indianapolis Colts on Dec. 2.