Jim Schwartz’s five seasons as coach of the Lions had more lowlights than highlights.
Here are the top five worst moments:
1. Oct. 16, 2011 — The Handshake. After the San Francisco 49ers snapped the Lions’ five-game win streak at Ford Field, Jim Harbaugh and Schwartz shook hands like all NFL coaches do post-game. Schwartz said he didn’t expect to hear an obscenity from Harbaugh and that’s when he took off to chase him into the tunnel. He was held back by security. The look on Schwartz’s face was intensity mixed with furor. Harbaugh was the instigator but Schwartz let his emotions get the best of him. Not a good moment.
2. Dec. 22, 2013 — Schwartz turned around and yelled at fans when they started booing as the Lions headed to overtime against the N.Y. Giants. He later admitted he should have kept his emotions to himself. It’s not that any fans could actually have heard what he was saying, but lip-readers came out of the woodwork checking out the replay. Lack of discipline on display.
3. Nov. 22, 2012 — It was a game full of miscues — a Jason Hanson missed field goal in overtime and a Brandon Pettigrew lost fumble in overtime were among the lowlights of the loss to the Texans. But overtime would not have been necessary, if Schwartz had kept calm and not thrown the challenge flag following an 81-yard touchdown run by the Texans’ Justin Forsett. Forsett had been down which is why the Lions’ defense let up. But he kept running and scored. Even though Schwartz knew the rule, he threw the flag and was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct. And because he threw the flag, the play could not be reviewed. The rule has since changed and is known as the “Jim Schwartz rule.” The Texans won 34-31 in overtime. Once again Schwartz’s emotions were costly.
4. Nov. 11 - Dec. 30, 2012 — After a 4-4 start, the Lions lost their last eight games to finish 4-12. Hopes were high at the start of the season, coming off a trip to the playoffs. Five of those last eight losses were by seven points or less, four were by four points or less. Close doesn’t count. Huge disappointment.
5. Nov. 17-Dec. 29, 2013 — After a promising 6-3 start in a year when the Bears and Packers were down due to quarterback injuries, the Lions could not finish a game. They held control of their own destiny but a loss to the Ravens on Monday Night Football was costly. They won just one of their last seven games even though they held fourth-quarter leads in all of them.
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