Posted by Will Brinson
Monday night, a lot of people either lost or won fantasy games (/raises hand angrily in the air) when Chris Johnson broke a 35-yard run for a touchdown to give the Titans a 30-3 beatdown victory over Jacksonville at Everbank Field. It should have been 23-3, but after the two-minute warning, Jack Del Rio inexplicably started burning timeouts with the game out of hand.
Turns out, there may be an awkward reason why he kept stopping the time -- Jeff Fisher said in his postgame press conference that he was asked to use them as well.
"Jack used his timeouts," Fisher said following the game. "So, [taking a knee] does me no good. Plus, my understanding is we needed some network timeouts, and that's why Jack used his timeouts. They came over and asked me to do it, but I said, 'I was hoping to get a first down and kneel on it.' And so, anyway."
According to Terry McCormick of Titans Insider, Fisher had never heard of such a thing happening.
“You can check with Jack. It didn't bother me at all. I believe that they asked them to use them. It's the first time I've heard of it,” Fisher said. “I just said I would have a hard time using them, because I'm ahead. Honestly, I have no issues with Jack or how he managed the end of that game. It's just what it was, and I don't think he would have an issue with me handing the ball off."
He's not the only one, either -- burning timeouts in a game as out of hand as that only serves a few people: the advertisers, ESPN (vis-a-vis the advertisers' happiness) and maybe Jaguars players that need additional repetitions at the end of the game.
Considering that David Garrard was ruled out of the game with a concussion, and that the only backup to Trent Edwards was tight end Zach Miller, the last reason actually makes Del Rio's decision to stop the clock a little bit questionable, provided that ESPN did ask him to use his timeouts.
Not that I want to get all conspiracy theory on ESPN, much less question Del Rio's integrity (and besides, it is a competitive game of sport, and there's no law against stopping the clock or running up the score), but extending the game also extended the chance for an injury, even if it did curry favor with the network responsible for broadcasting the only professional football shown on Monday nights.
And if Fisher is correct here, and that's what happened, well, it wasn't just my win in fantasy football that ended awkwardly this week.
Update (1:32): As it turns out, Jeff Fisher was apparently JOKING about the network asking him to call timeouts at the end of the game. Which makes me feel like a jerk for calling out either ESPN or Jack Del Rio (sorry guys), but doesn't change the fact that I'm still supremely angry at Fisher for letting Johnson get over a 100 and find the end zone.
That's according to Doug Farrar, who contacted McCormick about the comments, and even though none of this conspiracy theory stuff happened, well, Del Rio still should have let the time run out, if only for the sake of not having to put Zach Miller under center.