By Ashley Dunkak
With the Detroit Lions up 27-23 in the beginning of the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz elected to fake a field goal on fourth down and five from the Pittsburgh 10-yard line, using rookie punter Sam Martin to run the ball in the rain rather than taking the easy three points.
Martin fumbled. The Steelers drove 97 yards for a touchdown, taking the lead and eventually winning the game.
Schwartz stood staunchly beside his decision after the game.
“I don’t regret anything that happens in a game,” Schwartz said. “We’re going to do our very best to win the football game. We didn’t make enough plays to win this one, including that one. It was there, we thought. They made the play. We didn’t.
“I’m not going to get into the scheme,” Schwartz added. “We thought that we could get it in with the play that we ran. We thought we had a great chance to be able to score a touchdown there and not just get a field goal.”
The coach said he did not select the play simply because it was in line with an aggressive mindset, but he talked up the attitude quite a bit.
“It had nothing to do with mindset,” Schwartz said. “It had to do with trying to make the plays to win the game. We didn’t make it. But look, you can say whatever you want.Y’all say whatever you want about me.
“Don’t say I’m scared because we ain’t,” Schwartz continued. “This team’s going to be aggressive. We’re going to play our very best. We didn’t play well enough to win this game, but it’s not because we’re passive or anything. We went for it on the fourth down also. We didn’t make enough plays to win this game, offense, defense and special teams.”
Schwartz said he would not have called the play if he had not thought it would be successful. He said the team took the risk because the Lions were trying to win the game. Had they taken a field goal and given up a touchdown, the score would have been tied. Getting the touchdown would have allowed some breathing room. Nevertheless, faking a field goal is hardly a play with a high success rate.
“We’re trying to win the game,” Schwartz said. “You could’ve said the same thing about the Redskins game, okay? Why risk it? Why risk it? Every play is a risk.
“We still had a chance,” Schwartz added. “Our defense turned around and gave up 97 yards after that.”