NFL reviews rule that cost Detroit

Matt Schaub in obvious pain after getting kicked in a sensitive spot by Detroit's Ndamukong Suh.
Matt Schaub in obvious pain after getting kicked in a sensitive spot by Detroit's Ndamukong Suh. (PAUL SANCYA / AP)
Posted: November 24, 2012

After the toothless Lions' 34-31 loss in overtime to Houston on Thursday - in part because of the officials' devotion to a lame rule - the NFL bosses decided to do something about it.

NFL director of football operations Ray Anderson said Friday that the rule will be immediately reexamined. What's more, change could come this year, which is unusual because the NFL traditionally resists doing anything during the season.

The controversy began in the third quarter when the Texans' Justin Forsett scored on an 81-yard run that video clearly showed was not a touchdown because the running back was down long before he crossed the goal line.

Naturally, Detroit coach Jim Schwartz threw his red flag, which as it turned out was against the rules. Instead of getting a review that would have nullified the TD, he was hit with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty because in 2011 instant replay rules were changed to have the replay official initiate a review of all scoring plays.

According to the NFL, a team is prevented from challenging a play if that team commits a foul that prevents the next snap - or if a challenge flag is thrown when an automatic review would take place. In either case, a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty is charged and the play will not be reviewed.

The rule, Anderson said with a straight face, "may be too harsh."

No argument here.

Suh being Suh again

Speaking of the Lions-Texans game, the NFL said Friday that every form of discipline will be considered against Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh for his kick to Houston quarterback Matt Schaub's groin.

That Schaub was kicked is not in dispute. What is up in the air is whether the kick was deliberate.

"When you consider the history, everything is on the table," said NFL executive Ray Anderson, referring to Suh's well-earned reputation for taking cheap shots, especially on quarterbacks. In previous seasons Suh has been fined for roughing up Cincinnati's Andy Dalton, Chicago's Jay Cutler, and Cleveland's Jake Delhomme.

"Repeat offenders are going to run out of benefit of the doubt faster than someone who is a first-time offender," Anderson said.

A review of the play is set for next week.

The kick, intentional or not, happened in the first quarter after Suh rushed between right guard Ben Jones and right tackle Derek Newton to get to Schaub on a pass play. Newton, however, spun Suh to the ground, and Suh landed face-first with his left leg in the air - and extended his foot into Schaub's groin, making contact. Suh was not flagged on the play.

Will he or won't he?

Time for the daily report on the status of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler for Sunday's game against the Vikings: Maybe.

Chicago coach Lovie Smith said Friday he is optimistic about Cutler's return from a concussion, although Cutler is listed as questionable.

"He's looking better," Smith said after Friday's practice. "The last phase of his evaluation will be tomorrow and then we'll be able to let you know from there."

Cutler, who missed Monday night's 32-7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, has not had a full day of practice this week.

This article contains information from Inquirer wire services.

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