Lions' Coleman blames self, not ref, for pivotal pass interference call

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

For all of the team's offensive struggles, the Detroit Lions still had a reasonable shot at a comeback when the fourth quarter began on Sunday. Down just six points, and the Indianapolis Colts facing third-and-14 to open the frame, the Lions were on the cusp of getting the ball back with an opportunity to regain the lead. 

Instead of trying a short throw to get into field goal range, the Colts went for it all. Quarterback Philip Rivers stepped up in the pocket and heaved a deep ball toward the end zone for wide receiver Ashton Dulin.

The Colts' Zach Pascal pulls in a reception over the Lions' Justin Coleman in the fourth quarter.

Cornerback Justin Coleman, in his first game back since suffering a hamstring injury in Week 1, was a step behind in coverage, but the ball was under-thrown, leading to a collision near the goal line and ultimately a flag for pass interference. 

Three plays later, the Colts would take advantage of the 41-yard gift, punching it into the end zone and extending their lead to 14, en route to a 41-21 victory. 

At least one Lions player, linebacker Reggie Ragland, questioned the merit of the pass interference call against Coleman, but asked about the play on Monday, the veteran corner only blamed himself. 

"They're gonna make their calls based on a split(-second) decision," Coleman said. "I just felt like I could have did a better job of getting my head around a lot sooner and probably playing the ball. It's nothing the refs did. They made their decision and whatever and I just gotta do better."

If we're being fair, Coleman was probably a little rusty after a lengthy layoff. While players around the league have had nearly two months to work into football shape after a shortened offseason and cancelled preseason, Coleman has been rehabbing. 

Still, he wasn't about to make any excuses despite his five-game absence. 

"I don't feel like I was too rusty, but I obviously wasn't able to work my craft too often," he said. "Going out there on the field kinda broke some rust off me."

Coleman, who played more snaps than any Lions defender a year ago, was on the field for 39 in the loss to the Colts. And with Desmond Trufant nearing a return to action from his own hamstring injury, it's looking like the Lions might have their full secondary healthy and available for the first time this season against Minnesota this Sunday. 

"It doesn't really matter who is out there," Coleman said. "I'm glad to have all the DBs out there. I feel like all of us are playmakers. We just need everybody to do what they gotta do."