I know, at first it doesn’t seem like there’s a fantasy connection here, and we usually like to have one of those when we’re writing about things, and especially when we’re writing about stuff. But oh, there is one, and it’s real and spectacular.
More on that in a minute. But first, let’s relive the play that — in this Internet ranter’s un-humble opinion — ended in a far more egregious lack of officiating competence than the now infamous Hail Mary play the replacement officials botched earlier this year during the Green Bay-Seattle game.
I’m of course referring to Justin Forsett’s 81-yard touchdown run that shouldn’t have been a touchdown at all yesterday, a play that eventually really, really mattered when the Texans needed overtime to beat Detroit 34-31. The run occurred during the third quarter, and while Arian Foster’s backup rumbled for a nice little eight-yard gain, every conceivable angle showed that he was quite clearly down. Both his elbow and knee touched the ground, so by definition he was a downed runner, and the play should have ended.
It didn’t, and when the officials missed Forsett’s contact with the ground he smartly kept running, and running. His touchdown was the difference in the game, meaning the officials were also the difference in the game. And when that happens, pitch forks happen. Anger happens. Shame happens.
But I’m not mad at the officials for missing the initial call. Whatever, it’s a fast-paced game which makes mistakes inherent, and to err is human, something something, blah. That’s why we have a replay system in place, and said system is supposed to correct the mistakes that will arise due to humans being complete screw-ups. The problem in this case is that the screw up of another human prevented the incompetence of many more humans from being investigated.
In a reactionary move he’s now taken full responsibility for, Lions head coach Jim Schwartz tossed the challenge flag. The problem is that every scoring play is already automatically reviewed, and there’s a rule in place stating that if a coach challenges a scoring play, he’ll be penalized, and that play can no longer be reviewed. So by allowing instinct instead of his knowledge of a very known rule to take over in a heated moment, Schwartz negated the opportunity to have the play overturned, a decision that would have taken about eight seconds once the referee went under the hood.
A 15-yard penalty also resulted from Schwartz’s mental stumble, and he deserves some of the ire he’s receiving today. Coaches need to rise above the frenzy of the game, and always maintain at least an inner sense of calm. But really, he should only be getting a sliver of that anger, as it’s completely and utterly asinine to blame a coach for the existence of a nonsensical rule.
The Lions received two punishments for Schwartz’s decision to illegally chuck the challenge flag, a double penalty which is both unnecessary, and heavy-handed. So you want to penalize a coach for his lack of judgement and for, well, being a moron during a massive moment? Fine. A 15-yard penalty — the heaviest penalty given at any time short of an ejection — serves that purpose. Do that immediately, and throw the flag.
But an infraction for such stupidity shouldn’t in turn heap further stupidity on the league, and lead to a complete shut down of the replay system. The purpose of the rule which negates the video review, according to Peter King, is to keep coaches from challenging a play just to chat up officials in an effort to sway a decision in their favor. Say, maybe officials should just grow a backbone, amirght?
Your seething anger should be directed at that rule and its existence, not Schwartz. It’s useless, and the league is admitting as much by reportedly preparing to review the rule, and likely remove it before the 2013 season, according to ESPN’s Ed Werder.
Now, about that fantasy impact that was expertly (see: poorly) teased. The number of those affected is extremely miniscule, but given the sheer girth of leagues out there, Justin Forsett was started by somebody, somewhere. If you’re in a stupidly deep league with 14 or more teams, you don’t have a mental deficiency if you started Forsett in a flex spot. Ben Tate is still hurt, and I’m not sure if you’ve heard this before, but the Texans’ offense still has a heavy lean towards the run, despite the recent resurgence of Andre Johnson.
While serving as Foster’s backup during Tate’s absence since Week 9, Forsett’s received 22 carries that he’s turned into 180 yards. Even if we take away his 81 yarder that should have been an eight yarder yesterday, that’s still 107 yards at a solid pace of 4.9 yards per carry, including 59 yards in his still limited work last week, and over the past two weeks he’s had runs of 25 and 30 yards. Yeah, that’s some pretty chillin’ production from a running back who seems like little more than a backup also-ran, making Forsett far from a crazy-man option for the deep leaguer, and his usage was surely restricted to that small sect given his one percent ownership in both ESPN and Yahoo leagues. His value is somewhat comparable to Joique Bell’s, or at least the Joique Bell we saw between weeks 6 and 9 when he had 149 rushing yards on 30 carries. Deep flex plays epitomized.
On that one botched play, Forsett had 14 fantasy points. To put that in the proper perspective, Stevan Ridley had only one more fantasy point yesterday despite receiving 17 more carries, while Alfred Morris had just three more than Forsett on 19 more carries. I hate fantasy football.
Kidding. Still love you man, just please don’t hurt me anymore.