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Monday, October 21, 2013
Jim Schwartz: I didn't pull trigger

By Michael Rothstein

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz said ultimately it was his decision not to throw a challenge flag during a potential forward lateral following a blocked field goal in the second quarter of a 27-24 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. 

"In my conversations with officials, after talking to them, I decided not to challenge it," Schwartz said Monday. "If I challenge it and it ends up being unchallengeable, then it ends up being a 15-yard penalty. Just looking at it, where it was, it probably would have been 15 yards. And the risk-reward in that situation ... I decided not to pull the trigger and challenge that based on the conversations that I had.

Jim Schwartz
Lions coach Jim Schwartz said Sunday he was told by officials that he couldn't challenge a potential forward fumble after a blocked field goal. The NFL, however, said Monday that it is a reviewable play.

"In retrospect, probably should have challenged it right there."

Initially on Sunday, Schwartz said he was told he could not challenge the play by officials on the field. The NFL then released a statement saying, essentially, he could have. While the league didn't mention the lateral specifically in its statement, the league specifically mentioned the play where Cincinnati cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick recovered a Reggie Nelson fumble following David Akers' missed field goal with 2:30 left in the third quarter.

It appeared that the ball was actually advanced forward a few yards on the play.

"Rule 15, Section 9, Article 4 (d) 4 (page 91) covers reviewable plays and includes 'when the on-field ruling is a runner not down by defensive contact,'" the league statement said. "This is not a situation in which reviews are automatically initiated by the replay official."

Schwartz said Monday he initially checked with the officials to see if it was an automatic review because the ball switched sides. He declined to comment whether or not he was given bad information by the official.

"They are trying to give me the information as best they can," Schwartz said. "They've always said, really since last year, and it's every coach, 'Before you challenge, make sure you ask us to save you from throwing one that you shouldn't throw.' So I always ask them before."

Schwartz said he spoke with the NFL about the play but declined to give specifics about what the conversation entailed.

"I'm not going to talk about those," Schwartz said. "I don't want to be that guy that talks about conversations with the league. And when it was all set and done, it was my decision not to throw the flag."