It took five questions and three minutes of prodding at the end of his day-after news conference today before Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz finally and reluctantly admitted that he overreacted to booing fans late in Sunday’s 23-20 overtime loss to New York Giants.

“Probably, I should have done just like I did in the end of the second quarter and just kept it in my mind,” Schwartz said. “(I should have) just kept it in my mind and said, ‘Geez, why’s somebody booing when it’s 4 seconds left in the half? Don’t they know what this situation is and the risk-reward of doing something other than what we did right there?’

“So that would probably be, if you’re going to label it a regret, just don’t verbalize it, just keep it back in there.”

The Lions went conservative at the end of regulation Sunday, after Glover Quin intercepted an Eli Manning pass with 23 seconds left and the game tied at 20.

With the ball at their own 25-yard line and two time-outs, the Lions called a shotgun handoff to Theo Riddick on their first play from scrimmage and let the final seconds tick off the clock rather than attempt a pass downfield.

As players walked toward the sideline, with boos raining down from the stands, TV cameras captured Schwartz turning toward the crowd and twice appearing to yell an expletive.

He insisted after the game: “I wasn’t addressing the crowd I was just trying to … get our team fired up.” And he didn’t change course today.

“It was more just directed at just saying it,” Schwartz said. “I didn’t grab the microphone and make a crowd announcement.”

Schwartz said he heard boos at the end of the first half, too, when the Lions, trailing, 13-3, took a knee with 4 seconds left and the ball at their own 16-yard line. But he chose not to lash out then.

“In my mind, you hear people boo and you say, ‘Geez, what do they want us to throw a deep ball right here?’” Schwartz said. “The opportunity for something negative to happen in that situation is a lot more, and you have to try to make good decisions and you can’t be influenced by the crowd there.

“I mean, every crowd wants you to go for it on every fourth down. The field goal team comes in, you’re going to hear boos when your field goal team goes on the field. That’s just fans. And our fans have been great for us. Our atmosphere was great; they were into the game, and we needed them in the fourth quarter.”