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Tuesday, December 7, 2010
NFC North Week 13 decisive moment

By Kevin Seifert

The Detroit Lions were aggressively and intelligently hoping to lock down their first NFC North victory in three years Sunday. Leading 20-17 with 12 minutes remaining, the Lions decided to go for a fourth-and-1 at the Chicago Bears' 41-yard line.

Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan dialed up a creative play: An option run for mobile quarterback Drew Stanton. From that point, however, the Lions couldn't get themselves organized quickly enough for what turned out to be a decisive moment in their 24-20 loss.

Only a few seconds remained on the play clock when Stanton brought the team to the line of scrimmage. He rushed his cadence and took the snap amid a slew of whistles. He took several steps down the line and cut upfield before realizing the play was dead. Lions coach Jim Schwartz had called a timeout to prevent a delay of game, a penalty that would have pushed the Lions into a punting situation.

But Schwartz and Linehan decided the Bears had too good of a look at the option call and changed plays. They had already used Stanton twice on a quarterback sneaks, so they decided to call a bootleg pass to receiver Nate Burleson. The pass was a bit off target, however, and Bears cornerback D.J. Moore batted it away. The Bears assumed possession and scored the winning touchdown six plays later.

"We did a poor job of executing on that," Schwartz said. "I thought that Scott had a good play dialed up and it made it hard. You weren't going with your best play in that situation. You're going to the No. 2 play in that situation."