Chargers vs. Patriots – Don’t let them get out-of-bounds.

New England has no timeouts left.  They have the ball 1st and 10 at the Chargers 47 yard line after an interception with :09 left in the first half.  To get in FG range, what are the Patriots going to have to do?  Get out-of-bounds.  Not only do the Patriots run complete one out pass, they complete TWO in EIGHT seconds to set up a 47 yard FG as the first half expires to take a 20-7 lead into the locker room.  I wouldn’t expect anything less from a Norv Turner coached team.

Texans vs. Dolphins – Go for it. And don’t waste a timeout.

The Dolphins are trailing the Texans 23-13 with under 9 minutes to go in the game.  They have 4th and 1 at their own 17 yard line.  Go for it.  You have to score twice.  It’s only 1 yard.  And face it, your season rests on winning this game (especially another home game).  Not only do the Dolphins not go for it.  They let the clock run down and then waste a timeout.  And then punt.  Tony Sparano will be fired before the season is over.

Bengals vs. Broncos – Stay Inbounds!

The Broncos are leading the Bengals 24-22 with 2:45 left and have 3rd and 14 from their own 32.  They run the ball but Willis McGahee runs too far outside and lets the tacklers push him out of bounds to stop the clock.  Then Bengals get the ball back with 2:25 left instead of 1:50 left.  The Bengals didn’t end up scoring but the extra :35 seconds certainly made their last drive more interesting.

There was another sequence towards the end of the first half where the Bronocs were driving in Bengals territory but between calling running plays which chewed up the clock and not being in a hurry, it wasn’t a very efficient sequence.

Cowboys vs. 49ers (2nd post) – Be in a Hurry!

The Cowboys trailed the 49ers 24-21 with 4:03 left in the game and 1st and 10 at their own 26.  While they only need about 44 yards to get in FG range, why not try to win the game?  Well the Cowboys didn’t seem to be in a hurry.  It took them almost two minutes to run just 4 plays gaining 27 yards before an incomplete pass stopped the clock with 2:07 left.  And then they ran a play at 2:00, 1:27 and :59 before calling timeout with :49 left and then running a play to run down the clock to :04 before kicking the game tying FG which was no gimme at 47 yards.  The Cowboys should have been more efficient, trying to get more plays run in order to score a TD or a closer FG.  Yes, they did get the FG and yes they did win the game in OT.  But it won’t always work out for them.

Raiders vs. Bills – 1) Call Timeout. 2) Wait to Call Timeout.

This was an interesting sequence towards the end of the first half of this game.  The Bills were in FG range and had 3rd and 8 at the Raiders 14 with 3:06 left.  They complete a pass inbounds for 7 yards and thus have to kick a FG.  The Raiders are going to get the ball back so why not call timeout to give your offense as much time as possible (the Raiders had all 3 timeouts left).  The Raiders get the ball back with 2:16 left instead of closer to 3 minutes.  Now it ended up working out for the Raiders as they scored a TD in five plays and left 1:22 for the Bills.  However, after a running play gave them 1st and goal at the 1 yard line, they immediately called timeout instead of letting the clock run down before calling timeout.  The 40 seconds they saved ended up helping the Bills attempt a FG before the end of the half.  The kick was blocked but it was a kick that should have never happened if the Raiders had waited to call timeout.

Cowboys vs. 49ers – Take the penalty and the first down.

The 49ers are leading the Cowboys 21-14 and have 4th and 1 at the Dallas 37 and attempt a 55 yard field goal with 11:16 left.  The kick is good but Dallas is also called for a “leverage” penalty which is 15 yards.  The penalty is assessed on the kickoff.  Why didn’t the 49ers take the FG off the board and take the first down and run at least 2 minutes off the clock and potentially score a touchdown?  Instead the Cowboys had enough time score 10 points in the last 11 minutes to tie the game and eventually win it in overtime.  I think 49ers Head Coach wishes he had done things differently.  This is definitely the leader for “loser of the week”.

Ravens vs. Titans – Go for it.

The Ravens are trailing the Titans 23-10 with 7:03 left in the game and 4th and goal at the Titans 11.  You have to go for it!  The Ravens kick a FG which means they still need two scores to tie or win the game.  So what happens?  The Titans run off all but the last :26 of the game as they score a FG to clinch the game.

Buccaneers vs. Vikings – Call a timeout!

The Bucs were driving for a either a game tying FG or a go ahead TD with less than two minutes left.  The Vikings had all three timeouts left.  A second down run with 1:52 left kept the clock running and no timeout called by the Vikings.  A third down pass gave Tampa Bay a first down at the 4 yard line with just over a minute remaining and again no timeout called by the Vikings.  The Bucs then scored on first down and left the Vikings with only 24 seconds left by the time they got the ball back.  At some point, you have to figure they are going to get a FG so why not try to stop the clock to give your offense as much time to get a FG or TD when they get the ball back.

LSU vs. Mississippi – Dan Mullen is at it again.

Mississippi State Head Coach Dan Mullen received our Week #1 Loser of the Week award and he is already at it again in week #2.  In this case, Coach Mullen did not use any of his three timeouts in the second half to stop the clock.  He had the opportunity when LSU ran three straight running plays with under 5 minutes left in the game and MSU trailing 16-6.  LSU kicked a field goal and then on MSU’s ensuing drive which ended up inside the LSU 20, Coach Mullen never used a timeout despite numerous plays in which the clock continued to run.  It was a very strange sequence.

Week #1 – Loser of the Week

For our first loser of the week this year, it’s a tough choice between Dan Mullen, Head Coach at Mississippi State, and Sean Payton, Head Coach of the Saints (see posts below for greater detail on their mistakes).  I’m going to give it to Mullen for a couple reasons.  1.  They were on the 1 yard and had a chance to run at least 3 plays to tie or win the game.  2.  Coach Mullen was 100% responsible for calling the 1st down run play that failed and let the clock run out.  In Payton’s case, I’ll put partial blame on Drew Brees who was executing the last minute drive and also had a hand in the decision making of not spiking the ball to stop the clock.  Congrats to Dan Mullen, Week #1 Loser of the Week.