The referees in the Texans-Lions Thanksgiving Day game are under scrutiny for a bizarre call that was clearly wrong. Houston running back Justin Forsett ran for an 81-yard touchdown, but it came on a play where two Lions defenders clearly tackled him, an obvious mistake by the referees.
Related: Gunther Cunningham reacts to the call
Forsett took a handoff up the middle of the field, getting tackled by two Lions defenders. Replays showed that Forsett's elbow and knee both hit the ground, which should've meant he was down. Check it out:
But the referees never blew the whistle. Forsett continued running after initially getting hit, taking it to the house for an 81-yard touchdown.
Normally this play would've been reviewed, as all scoring plays are. But Lions coach Jim Schwartz threw the challenge flag early, which meant the play would not be reviewed. The rule not allowing a challenge in that instance doesn't make a lot of sense, but the head coach needs to know the rules, so Schwartz can be blamed for that one.
So you can gain an appreciation for how bad the call was, check it out live:
You can obviously see a hesitation on Forsett's part after he hits the ground. The referees probably figured they wouldn't blow it dead so that they could go back and review it. But when Schwartz challenged, they didn't have that option anymore.
rule is if the coach throws the flag before the Replay official initiates a review,the play cannot be reviewed. This will change.— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) November 22, 2012
It must change. An unbelievable break for the Texans.
That score brought the Texans to within three points, so it's a critical call in the game.