By: Will Burchfield
Justin Forsett started laughing the moment the question was asked.
What does he remember from Thanksgiving 2012?
“It was a crazy, crazy game,” he said. “It was a good day for me.”
And a rough day for the Lions and their fans, who watched a potential win over the Houston Texans slip through their fingers at the hands of a blown call and a coaching blunder. At the center of it all was Forsett, the former Texan and newly-signed Lion who, four years later, finds himself on the other side of a memorable controversy.
To re-set the stage, Detroit was leading Houston 24-14 in the third quarter of its annual Thanksgiving contest. Forsett, then the Texans backup running back, rushed for a short gain before his knee touched the ground around Houston’s 25-yard line.
But the refs never saw it, the play carried on, and Forsett hopped up and ran for an 81-yard touchdown. Jim Schwartz, Detroit’s head coach at the time, hastily and illegally through the challenge flag, negating the video review that follows every scoring play. So the touchdown stood, and the Texans went on to win 34-31 in overtime.
“It was a special play that happened on Thanksgiving,” Forsett said on Wednesday at the Lions practice facility in his first meeting with local reporters.
“And I will remember the boos and the Twitter messages that I got on social media forever.”
Asked if his knee was indeed down on the play, Forsett played coy.
“What are you talking about?” he deadpanned. “I don’t understand.”
Asked if he sent a thank-you card to Schwartz, Forsett laughed.
“No, I didn’t,” he said.
Then he paused before adding, “I was definitely down.”
Forsett has admitted as much before, and video replays make it impossible to think otherwise. But in the moment, he wasn’t so sure.
“I didn’t actually know that I was down once it happened. The adrenaline was pumping and I didn’t hear a whistle so I just kept going,” Forsett said.
Perhaps this year, if he sticks around long enough, Forsett can treat Lions fans to a more savory Thanksgiving Day moment.