Monday Musings: Tomlin blew clock management at end of loss to Ravens
Why did Mike Tomlin call his final timeout with 2:04 left?
-- Bad game management drives me crazy. It was on full display late in the Ravens' 13-10 victory over the Steelers, when a decision impacted the game -- even if few noticed. With one timeout left and the Ravens facing a third-and-7 from their own 38, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin called his final timeout with 2:04 left. Bad move. That decision would have allowed the Ravens to throw on that down because of the two-minute warning. Run or incomplete pass, the clock is stopped. There was no risk to throw it then. When the Steelers jumped offsides, nullifying a sack, it set up a third-and-2 at the two-minute warning. The Ravens decided to throw after that, but Joe Flacco wisely took a sack to eat up clock. The Steelers got the ball back at their 16 with no timeouts and 1:05 left. That made it tough to move to a potential game-tying field goal. If Tomlin waits until after the two-minute warning to call his timeout, the Steelers would have had almost two minutes on the clock In addition, it would have made Baltimore's third-down call interesting. That timeout let the Ravens off the hook. And it might have cost the Steelers a chance to tie a key divisional game. Why teams don't hire a clock-management specialist to stand on the sidelines is mystifying to me. Tomlin blew that one in a big way.
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-- Last week, I ripped Ravens coach John Harbaugh for faking a field goal for a touchdown up 41-17. This week, it's Patriots coach Bill Belichick. What in the hell was Tom Brady doing in the game with the Patriots up 52-24 late? As if that wasn't bad enough, he had Brady throwing. Belichick does know that Brady is the franchise. Without him, the Patriots are toast. What if a player rolled on his knee? For a guy who is a football genius, Belichick's arrogance sure gets the best of him at times. As for Rob Gronkowski being on special teams, that's probably not smart, either, but a lot of teams use starters on special teams. Starters are OK. But I wouldn't put my best weapon out there.
-- Speaking of coaching stupidity, what the heck was LeSean McCoy carrying late in the Eagles' 31-6 blowout at the hands of the Redskins? Are you kidding me? Andy Reid said he was trying to win? Win what? Are there any runs that count for four scores? McCoy suffered a concussion on the play. Then again, Reid won't be coaching McCoy next season, anyway
-- Should the Jaguars start Chad Henne next week if Blaine Gabbert is healthy? The easiest answer would be yes. But that's not the way it should go down. The Jaguars have to find out if Gabbert is the long-term answer. Henne is not. So if Gabbert isn't, they have to get a quarterback next spring. Playing Henne for a team that isn't going anywhere, even if he did have an impressive game against the Texans, makes no sense. He isn't the long-term answer. Does he deserve to start? Probably. Does it make sense? No. If Gabbert is out with an arm injury, it would make the decision easier.
-- The best thing to come out of the Jaguars' playing well at Houston was the play of rookie receiver Justin Blackmon. There was great concern from some around the team that the pilot light had not gone on yet. He rounded off routes, and he doesn't exactly have a receiver-looking body. He looks heavy, in fact. But Blackmon was sensational against the Texans. He had seven catches for 236 yards and an 81-yard touchdown.
-- The Packers have to be concerned in a big way about kicker Mason Crosby. He has missed five of his last 12 kicks and missed two against the Lions on Sunday. He did come back to make one late to give the Packers a four-point lead, but his confidence is shaky at best.
-- One more Packers note: The offensive line was horrible against the Lions. Horrible.
-- It's official: Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley is better than Ndamukong Suh. I've been saying it all season, but Fairley was special against the Packers. He spent the day in the Packers' backfield.
-- So much for the Nick Foles bandwagon -- if there was one. Foles was terrible against the Redskins.
-- Matt Schaub: That was a big-boy game. That's the type of passing game the Texans needed to have, just to show they could do it. Schaub threw for 527 yards and five touchdowns. Andre Johnson had 14 catches for 276 yards and the game-winning touchdown.
-- The Oakland Raiders' defense is as bad as it gets right now. They don't rush the passer. They don't cover. They don't do anything well. There is a lack of talent, and they fundamentally make a bunch of mistakes. They've given up 135 points in the last three games.
-- You can see the confidence growing week by week in Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant. He had 12 catches for 145 yards against the Browns, including a 30-yard touchdown catch. As for his going out of bounds before picking up a first down without trying to get it, I think it was just a lapse in judgment. He is a tough kid.
-- The Cowboys better improve that offensive line. The Browns had seven sacks, and it could have been a lot worse if Tony Romo didn't move the way he does. Ouch.
-- I've known Shawn Jefferson, the Lions' receivers coach, for a long time. He is usually a mild-mannered guy, but his sideline confrontation with Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan sure wasn't that. He reportedly was frustrated with Titus Young, a second-year receiver with a ton of talent who has not lived up to the hype.
-- You are what you are. When the Chiefs traded for Matt Cassel, I always thought they were basing way too much on one season in New England. Now we know they did. Cassel was benched for Brady Quinn against the Bengals, Cassel was 8-for-16 for 93 yards when he was benched. General manager Scott Pioli, the man who made that trade to get him, will likely be fired after the season. GM, coach and quarterback are always linked. That move to get Cassel is one that will cost Pioli his job.
-- Ravens defensive end/outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said after Sunday's game that he isn't nearly as explosive as he was before tearing his Achilles tendon this spring. But, he's getting there. He's right. He's not the pass-rush monster that he was before the injury, but he's getting there.
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