Lions' halfback pass likely for Linehan to stick it to Rams

The Detroit Lions have virtually no experience winning the last few seasons, and certainly not under second-year head coach Jim Schwartz.

So excuse them for calling a halfback pass with a 34-6 lead on Sunday midway through the fourth quarter of a demolition of the St. Louis Rams. Maybe they just don’t know better. But this is like a baseball player stealing second base in the eighth inning of a game with an eight-run lead. Depending on how you view it, it’s poor form or bush league.

“I’ve been trying to get that called for about four weeks now,” Schwartz said on WXYT-FM 97.1, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “We’ve run it a bunch in training camp and things like that, and it was on our must-call list in this game. A lot of times when you do get a lead in a game it gives you an opportunity to freewheel a little bit to set some things up for the future. We have run that toss-sweep a bunch of times with Jahvid Best and teams were cheating on it. Teams were attacking and disregarding the coverage and if we want to keep running that play, keep being effective, we need to keep them honest.”

If it was on his “must call list” for the game, surely there was a point before the Lions led by four touchdowns that he could have called it. Otherwise, if the play just isn’t safe enough to use unless he’s up by 28 points, maybe it needs to be erased from the playbook.

Want our take on why the Lions called a halfback pass with 9:21 remaining in a game they were leading by 28? Detroit offensive coordinator Scott Linehan didn’t like the way his exit in St. Louis went. This was an opportunity to show the Rams just how ticked off he was.

Best overthrew wide-open tight end Tony Scheffler on the play.

“I didn’t see any white flags being waved on their sideline,” Schwartz said Monday.

That didn’t make the timing right to dial up a trick play.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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