Houston showed that they are making a bad habit of playing down to their opponents. Not to take away from a Lions team that stepped it up on Turkey Day, and played like a premier team which, on paper, they always look capable of realizing. Frankly, the Texans lost this game. I picture the NFL gods saying “wait a minute, the Lions can’t win on Thanksgiving!” and pressing a button that says “Free Touchdown.” The Lions played very well and had multiple opportunities to close out the game, and failed to do so partially because of a few bad choices, but mostly because of some goofy calls.
The skin-of-their-teeth win by Houston is definitely going to be overshadowed by what I’ve been calling “The Touchdown that Never Was” when Forsett scrambled to his feet thinking that he wasn’t touched and faux-footed his way to the end zone where a Zebra threw his hands up for a touchdown. Now every fan should have heard by now that every scoring play gets reviewed, it’s hard to miss since it adds 10 commercial breaks and 20 minutes to every game. However, there is a since of confidence that calls will get corrected. Therefore, when fans saw that Forsett was clearly down they all assumed that something so obvious would be reversed. It’s almost like due process, whether you agree with the verdict or not, there is a group of NFL peers that scrutinize a play via NFL laws and decide a plays fate.
There was no trial.
Schwartz made the biggest coaching mistake since going for it on 4th down in your own half of the field to try and ice a game versus Manning or Brees. He threw the red challenge bag, which may have meant something a couple of years ago, heck it might of even been compulsory, but on Thursday all it was to the refs was a white glove smack saying “Do Your Job!.” An undoubtedly edgy refereeing crew, weathered by long negotiations and cabin fever, reacted with a “You dun’ messed up now” immediate reaction by citing a newfangled rule where if a coach throws his bag then the play is unreviewable. Ford Field erupted, it was like an old lady was getting smacked around on the fifty yard line for everyone to see.
I’ve seen thousands of plays, hundreds of reviews, and some plays stand out as injustices. Troy Polamalu definitely did intercept Manning in 05, and though the NFL gods tried to step in and make Bettis fumble on the one off of Bracketts helmet, they still won. The Music City Miracle would have been called a forward pass 9/10 times and gave Bills fans more faith that they are cursed, Calvin Johnson’s catch against the Bears where he didn’t “complete the process,” or even the 4-handed catch sealing Green Bay’s fate against the Seahawks this year. The thing about this is, everyone involved admitted that it was NOT a touchdown…and that the score was counted via a technicality.
An innocent play was sent to prison, or rather a play caught red-handed got away with murder because the prosecutor threw his red flag. I equate this to calling a time out with none left, which many people in Michigan turn their stomachs when they hear.
One thing that will be overshadowed by silly calls (including a plethora of holding calls that weren’t called thanks to Suh’s reputation) is that it was a GREAT game. If we all forget about weeks 1-11 and just watch the game, it played out like one of the games of the year. Stafford went off for 441 yards and two scores, and Megatron snagged 8 for 140 yards and a score. Schaub broke 300 yards again for 315 yards one score and one pick, as his work-horse ‘Dre Johnson caught 9 passes for 188 yards in yet another big performance. Texans fans know one thing, the numbers in passing and rushing this year have stayed at the bottom of the top ten in the league simply because they are so balanced. Seeing Johnson go over 450 yards in the last two games looks much more like the old flash-in-the-pan Texans that passed a ton. Narrowly grabbing “w’s” from the Jags and Lions, while slumping into old ways doesn’t spell Super Bowl for this playoff-bound team.
The Texans had better get it together.
Goofy calls, bad calls, no-calls, narrowly-made field goals, narrowly-missed field goals, bad opposing coaching…you can only go to the well so much before it is dry.