Ultimately, this didn’t impact the game because of a turnover. However, I thought I’d share it with you because it demonstrates that you really have to pay attention to the details of clock management or it will cost you. And I really wonder how many coaches are paying attention.
The Rams led the Redskins 31-28 and had a 1st down at the Redskins 46 yard line with 3:33 left in the game. The Redskins had just used their last timeout to stop the clock. The only way the Redskins could stop the clock was with the two minute warning. The key for the Rams was to use enough clock during the actual 1st and 2nd down plays so that the time used for the plays plus the 40 second play clock would take them to the two minute warning. That way the 3rd down play would take place AFTER the two minute warning and thus another 40 seconds would run off the clock before the Rams would have to punt. That would leave the Redskins deep in their own territory with just over a minute remaining to try and get the game tying FG.
What happened? The first down play was a 5 yard run and the 40 second play clock started at 3:28. The second down play was snapped very close to the play clock expiring (the play by play said 2:50) but the Rams fumbled on the play. Even if they had not fumbled, I don’t think the play would’ve taken them to 2:39 in the game which is what they needed in order for the 3rd down play to happen after the two minute warning. In a situation like that, a wide run without going out of bounds is what’s needed to make the actual play last as long as possible.