Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Watch management at Jeff Saturday elicits strong reaction to Colts MNF loss

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Jeff Saturday was quite impressive when he began his tenure as interim head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. But maybe he had his “welcome to the NFL moment” at the end of Monday Night Football in week 12.

Colts quarterback Matt Ryan scrambled 14 yards to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 26-yard line in second and 17th. When Ryan got up to hand the ball to the referee, there were about 50 seconds left on the clock.

Surprisingly, the Colts didn’t call a timeout despite having three available. Instead, Indianapolis called for a running game with Jonathan Taylor not gaining yards in third and third place.

Eventually, the Colts called a timeout before the fourth down, but the play was an incomplete pass on the touchline. The game was over and Indianapolis ended the second half with two timeouts remaining.

After the game, Saturday was criticized on Twitter for not using his time-outs on the final drive of the game.

After Ryan’s scramble, about 20 seconds elapsed before the Colts finished their next game — a run for Taylor. Indianapolis called its first timeout after not winning in third place with 30 seconds remaining.

The Saturday told the media during his post-game press conference that he’s essentially preserving his time-outs because he doesn’t think time is an important factor after Ryan’s scramble.

“I didn’t feel like time was really of the essence right now,” Saturday said. “I felt good about the call [on third down] Before. I felt like we had time, we would have time off after that. We were within striking distance.

“I’ve never felt the pressure to take a break. As I said, I liked the call.”

Saturday added that even if the team took a time-out, the third-place play call would not change.

Instead of blaming how the team handled the clock in the last minute, Saturday said the execution cost the Colts on the final drive. Taylor’s run without a win marked the first time he was stopped without yards on a carry in the fourth quarter.

However, one could argue that the offense accelerated Taylor’s run in third place because the clock was ticking.

Ryan, one of the league’s oldest starters and least mobile quarterbacks, rushed for just 14 yards in the previous game. The Colts’ offensive linemen crowded to the line of scrimmage after Ryan’s escape for a run down in third.

Perhaps a timeout at that moment to reset and catch some air would have benefited the Colts in this situation.

Saturday gets all the criticism for how the Colts handled the clock on the final Week 12 drive, but there are several former head coaches on the Indianapolis staff who could have suggested on Saturday that the team needed a time-out. Ryan could have taken a break himself.

Instead, the veteran quarterback also cited execution as the bigger problem at the end of the game.

“The effort was there, but the execution just wasn’t good enough,” said Ryan.

Instead, the veteran quarterback also cited execution as the bigger problem at the end of the game.

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