The Detroit Lions were aggressively and intelligently hoping to lock down their first NFC North victory in three years Sunday. Leading 20-17 with 12 minutes remaining, the Lions decided to go for a fourth-and-1 at the Chicago Bears' 41-yard line.
Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan dialed up a creative play: An option run for mobile quarterback Drew Stanton. From that point, however, the Lions couldn't get themselves organized quickly enough for what turned out to be a decisive moment in their 24-20 loss.
Only a few seconds remained on the play clock when Stanton brought the team to the line of scrimmage. He rushed his cadence and took the snap amid a slew of whistles. He took several steps down the line and cut upfield before realizing the play was dead. Lions coach Jim Schwartz had called a timeout to prevent a delay of game, a penalty that would have pushed the Lions into a punting situation.
But Schwartz and Linehan decided the Bears had too good of a look at the option call and changed plays. They had already used Stanton twice on a quarterback sneaks, so they decided to call a bootleg pass to receiver Nate Burleson. The pass was a bit off target, however, and Bears cornerback D.J. Moore batted it away. The Bears assumed possession and scored the winning touchdown six plays later.
"We did a poor job of executing on that," Schwartz said. "I thought that Scott had a good play dialed up and it made it hard. You weren't going with your best play in that situation. You're going to the No. 2 play in that situation."