This game had it all.
Overtime. Missed field goals. Bad coaching decisions. Poor officiating.
A heartbreaking loss for one team, in this case the Lions.
The Lions did everything right for so much of the game. Matt Stafford had one of his sharpest games this season, topping 400 yards and not turning the ball over (though there were a few near misses). He even got Ryan Broyles involved to the tune of 126 yards.
Broyles was everything the Lions had hoped for when they took him in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He showed outstanding hands, an ability to use his size and sharp route running.
Regardless of the outcome, the Lions have found a special player in Broyles.
There were some bad beats offensively. Brandon Pettigrew had several bad drops, including a fumble in overtime which could have lost the game if Shayne Graham hadn't missed a 51-yard field goal.
The run game never got going either, in part because the game was a shootout from the first whistle. Still, Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell both struggled and the Lions will have to see if they can find a way to jump-start the ground attack.
Still, the offense fired on all cylinders. In addition to Broyles' big performance, Calvin Johnson scored a touchdown for the third straight game and has now eclipsed the 100-yard mark four consecutive times.
Defensively, the Lions had a harder time of it. Cliff Avril had a pair of sacks and a forced fumble, but for the most part, the Lions didn't get as much pressure on Matt Schaub as they would have liked.
Schaub was able to find Andre Johnson repeatedly for big gains and Arian Foster ran hard, hitting defenders hard and breaking tackles on virtually every run.
The defense did manage to make a couple of big plays such as Avril's sacks and a huge interception by cornerback Chris Houston, but in the end the effort fell just short.
The play by Houston was huge and put the team in a position to win the game, save for Jim Schwartz's conservative play-calling which forced a longer field-goal attempt for Jason Hanson.
Speaking of bad decisions, the refs made a ton of them.
The worst and most egregious was on Justin Forsett's 81-yard touchdown run. On the play, the Texan running back stumbled and fell, his knee and elbow touching the ground before he got up and continued to run.
The Lions stopped playing (which is why your Pop Warner coach says play to the whistle) and Forsett ran the rest of the way for a touchdown.
Every scoring play is reviewed automatically, but Schwartz threw a challenge flag which incurred a 15- yard penalty as it's illegal to throw that flag at that time.
Because of the penalty, the touchdown was no longer reviewable.
I know the rule is what it is. However, it was a bad call from the beginning and as dumb as Schwartz was for not realizing the play was going to get looked at anyway, I don't see the logic of canceling the booth review.
Whether that play changed the entire outcome of the game in anyone's guess. But you can bet it certainly had an effect.
You look at that thrown challenge flag, though, add it to the conservative play-calling and the poor play selection as they approached a potential winning field goal, and you come away wondering what Schwartz was thinking of.
The Lions could have and should have won that game, but those decisions, as much as the officiating and the inability to stop Andre Johnson and Arian Foster, cost them the game.
As well as the last hope they had for a playoff spot.
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