By Ashley Dunkak
ALLEN PARK (CBS DETROIT) – As much emphasis as Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz placed Sunday on aggressiveness, on not being afraid of the bold call, on having the guts to make the unconventional decision for all the marbles, he did say Monday that aggressiveness is certainly second to winning.
“We’re not aggressive just to be aggressive or conservative for the sake of being conservative,” Schwartz said. “The only way to be right is to win. When you win you’re always right. It doesn’t matter whether you were as conservative as can be or aggressive as can be. The decision had nothing to do with that. We didn’t go into the game saying, ‘Hey, we’re going to be conservative this week,’ or go into the game saying, ‘Hey, this is an aggressive week.’”
That acknowledgment aside, Schwartz still maintains he made the right decision to fake a field goal with Detroit up 27-23 in the fourth quarter Sunday. The result of the play was a fumble and 97-yard scoring drive by the Pittsburgh Steelers, who eventually won 37-27.
“If we were successful in that situation and we go up 11 right there, I know what you guys would write,” Schwartz said. “You guys would write, ‘It’s a different attitude Lions, they’re going for the win, they’re not trying to just settle for field goals, this is a big – ‘ Regardless of what happened on the play, the mentality’s still the same. We were aggressively trying to take what the defense gave us, and we thought that we had that play. ”
Not only does Schwartz maintain that the fake field goal was the appropriate move, he also said he would do the same next week if he felt the situation called for it.
“We think we have an opportunity, we’re not going to be afraid to do it,” Schwartz said. “That’s got to be a mentality thing. You can’t all of a sudden be conservative just because a call didn’t work. The reasoning behind it was good. I think we had an opportunity to go really put a dagger in that game, make it an 11-point game at that point, and we didn’t get it done.
“If a receiver drops a ball, you don’t just never throw him the ball again,” Schwartz added later. “If you’ve got quarterbacks that are afraid to throw interceptions, you’re never going to complete any passes. If you have defensive backs that are afraid to give up passes, you’ll probably never make an interception. I think the same thing goes for coaching. If you’re afraid about what might happen, you’re never going to make a call. We were confident in our call. It didn’t work.”