Well, I actually watched some of this game throughout its broadcast Thanksgiving Day while breaking bread with my family etc… But I did watch this particular touchdown play as it happened. And it resulted into the controversy that came soon after, which knocked me back like others as well. Talk about Referees “following the rules” to the letter! Confusing and yet this rule is still in a gray area.
I saw two Lions defensive players tackle the Texans running back Justin Forsett and then two or three points of his body touches the ground horizontally as a result. You can view this play online at a good angle but at the time of live action, I did see other angles which convinced me of this. Now for what ever reason the running back got up and kept running for the score. The two Lions defenders that tackled him stopped when they made the downed contact with him and feeling the play was over. Another Lions defender gave chase not being 100% sure because of his distance away from the initial tackle, so he just reacted to a player running to the end zone.
Now, this got interesting when the Referee signaled touchdown for the Texans. Yes again I say, I was knocked back a bit. I even yelled for the coach to challenge this play. I did not know that if after a touchdown that it was an automatic review and there’s no need for a coach to challenge the call. I thought it had to be a “questionable” call anyway for the review to even take place. And the obvious would be flags thrown by Referees after a touchdown which will save the coach from even bothering. Besides, the instant replay shots would let the fans at home see any issues with the play and the fans actually at the stadium would also get an instant replay review on the “jumbo-tron”.
Getting more interesting about this rule is that the coach cannot throw out his challenge flag or it results in a “non review” meaning the play or score stands as called by the Officials. Again, I thought in the past if the coach throws the challenge flag, if the play is reviewed and the Officials stand by their call, then the coach is assessed a penalty in the form of yardage on his teams next possession or loss of a time-out. Seems to me here this would have been the appropriate call. This is why it made my “favorite” list of memorable moments 2012.
Coach Jim Schwartz stated at the end he knew the rule and it was a big mistake on his part. Even so, this play still should have been reviewed and the score called back because it was a valid player down from two defenders. Not every coach watching every touchdown play would want to challenge it, if they feared losing time-outs or yardage. So it’s not going to slow game play down or be done out of spite to the scoring team.
We all just want the score to be legitimate.