MINNEAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 26: Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz looks on from the side line during the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on September 26 2010 in Minneapolis Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Lions 24-10. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jim Schwartz defended his decision to let the clock run down and kick a field goal at the end of the first half against Minnesota rather than taking a shot or two at the end zone. He said going for a touchdown wasn't worth the risk and also added that he would have done the same thing no matter if Matthew Stafford or Joe Montana or Shaun Hill were the quarterback.
"I'd do it exactly the same way right now,'' Schwartz said Monday. "You look back and say could we have 'clocked' and had maybe 8 seconds or so and a timeout. There's a lot things, but we still needed to take a shot at the end zone. We were already in field-goal range.
I haven't weighed in on this too much and probably should have addressed it earlier in the week, but I will make this relatively brief: The Lions could have called a timeout with 14 seconds or so left in the first half. It would have been their final timeout, but with 14 seconds, you have enough time for at least a couple shots to the end zone. While it's a risk in that the clock could run out if someone gets tackled inbounds or there could be a turnover, I think the risk would have been worth the reward for the Lions. Obviously it won't be easy to score when the defense knows where you have to go, but scoring a touchdown at the end of the half would have been a big boost for Detroit.
I definitely understand why Schwartz played it safe, but at some point you have to be aggressive and take advantage of the few chances you have to actually score a TD. The move came off as Schwartz playing not to lose the game rather than to win the game. I'm not going to bust out Herm Edwards' phrase or anything, but I would have definitely liked to see Schwartz be aggressive and go for the touchdown. Would we have criticized him had the decision backfired? I don't doubt it, but the Lions need to show some aggression for a change. When you haven't won a road game in more than 20 tries, why not take a chance and see what happens. At the very worst you miss out on three points, but I would say that's less likely than scoring a touchdown or simply kicking a field goal when all is said and done anyways if you play it smart.
If you were in Jim Schwartz's shoes, what would you have done?
Play it safe: run the clock down and kick a field goal (129 votes)
Go for it: call timeout and take a shot or two at the end zone before settling for a FG (429 votes)
558 total votes