The Lions claim the second timeout was called to prevent a touchdown

Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions

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The Lions did a Lionish thing late in Thursday’s loss to the Bears, calling for a timeout to save time and then another because they did not like the intersection of offensive and defensive positions before the next game. According to a rule (a whimsical one), the referees must ignore the second timeout, but if they do not, the team calling it will be penalized five yards.

The flag thrown at Detroit changed a third and nine for Chicago from Detroit 16 to a third and four from Detroit 11. Chicago converted with a win of seven yards and then milked the clock down to a second before kicking the battlefield field. . Goal.

After the game, Lions coach Dan Campbell bluntly explained the alternative of calling timeout: “Stand there and watch them score, I think,” he said via the team’s official website.

Campbell said there was an “error communication” regarding the call, with half of the secondary believing it was one thing and the other half believing it was something else.

Linebacker Alex Anzalone defended the decision. “It was still, I think, third down after that,” Anzalone said. “Either way, the five-yard penalty was not that big of a deal. Instead of a touchdown, it really was [would have] put the game out of reach. “

While Campbell and the Lions may have a perfectly reasonable explanation for doing something that looked silly, this does not change the fact that Campbell and the Lions did something that looked silly. As someone exactly told me years ago, “I may have a perfectly good explanation for showing up at work without pants on, but that does not change the fact that I showed up to work without pants on.”

For the Lions, there should not have been a faulty communication that came out of a timeout. Everyone should have known the approach. There should have been no need to consciously choose to give up five yards to avoid a potential disaster. The disaster should not have been avoided.

Moreover, it did not seem as if Campbell deliberately chose to give up five yards. After the penalty flag was flown, Campbell could be seen saying to an official, “What was the call? What was the call?” If Campbell was aware of the rule when the team called a second time-out in a row between games, he would have known the Lions had been called for delay of play.

Then there is this – giving up the touchdown would at worst have made the score 21-14. And the Lions would have had more than 1:40 to force overtime or win in regulation with a two-point conversion. By burning two timeouts and giving up the first downturn in the next game, the Lions could not avoid the Bears trying a walk-off field goal for victory.

At one point on Thursday, one of Fox’s spokesmen said Campbell was learning on the job. That’s not how it should be, not with so many qualified people and so few vacant head coaches. No NFL head coach should have the luxury of learning on the job; either you already know how to do it, or else the team needs to hire someone else to do it.

Including the dozen games he served as interim head coach for the Dolphins in 2015, Campbell has now worked as the head coach for 23 games. If you still learn the job 23 games on and six years after your first dozen games as head coach, maybe someone else should have gotten that job.

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