By: Will Burchfield
In the latest round of second-guessing Jim Caldwell, the Lions’ coach has come under fire for not challenging a dropped pass that was dubiously ruled a catch for Odell Beckham Jr. in the first quarter of the Lions’ 17-6 loss to the Giants on Sunday.
The play resulted in a four-yard gain for the Giants on their opening drive, one that led to a touchdown and a 7-0 New York lead.
Caldwell defended his decision to keep the challenge flag in his pocket, telling reporters after the game, “It’s 4 yards. We’re not going to challenge that play. It was late when we saw it, but we wouldn’t have challenged it anyway in that situation.”
He stood by this rationale on Monday.
“A lot goes into it,” Caldwell said. “It was early in the game, number one. Number two, the fact of the matter is, I saw the play happen and I saw (Beckham) go down. It looks like he juggled it and had it between his knees. Nobody reacted to it, literally. Most often you got guys saying, ‘Hey, throw the flag, that was not a catch,’ or something of that nature.”
According to Caldwell, the Lions’ video team didn’t receive the appropriate replays until it was too late.
“They didn’t give me anything upstairs obviously because we didn’t see it until late, they don’t show them to you until real late. So right there at the end of it, it would have been throwing a challenge on an uncertain situation because we really didn’t know,” he said. “If we had seen it clearly…that’s different, if we know it for a fact.
“When there’s uncertainty on a four-yard play, not going to throw it. And that’s where we were. We were kind of in a little bit of a limbo in that situation so didn’t see it clearly until the next play was up.”
Caldwell suggested that’s simply the nature of playing road games in the NFL.
“When you are away from home, you’re opportunity to see video is not very good and it’s as late as possible. Oftentimes, you may not see it at all. That’s just kind of the way it is in visiting stadiums.”
Throughout this season, Caldwell has stressed how much he values the team’s timeouts. But if there was ever an occasion to risk losing one by throwing the challenge flag, Sunday’s “catch” by Beckham was it.