by Michael Lombardi
December 22, 02009
No one manages a game better in the NFL than Titans coach Jeff Fisher. He always preserves his timeouts and rarely makes mistakes at the end of the half. I received many emails from fans this week about his decision to let the clock run down before overtime. Here is the breakdown: The Titans had three timeouts when they started their drive and the Dolphins had one.
Tennessee Titans at 1:34, (1st play from scrimmage 1:27)
1-10-TEN 32 (1:27) (Shotgun) V.Young pass incomplete deep right to N.Washington.
This stopping of the clock allowed the Dolphins to gain a timeout and helped in the event they were able to get the ball back.
2-10-TEN 32 (1:22) (Shotgun) V.Young pass incomplete short right to N.Washington.
The Titans need a completion here or else the Fins gain another timeout, which they did with the incompletion.
3-10-TEN 32 (1:15) (Shotgun) V.Young pass short right to B.Scaife to TEN 39 for 7 yards (V.Davis).
Timeout #2 by MIA at 01:08.
Smart timeout. Now, with field position, they might be able to get a long field-goal attempt.
4-3-TEN 39 (1:08) (Punt formation) B.Kern punts 59 yards to MIA 2, Center-K.Amato, downed by TEN-J.McCourty.
Miami Dolphins at 0:56
1-10-MIA 2 (:56) R.Williams right tackle to MIA 6 for 4 yards (C.Finnegan).
Why no timeout here by the Titans? They had three of them remaining. At this point, trying to get a punt attempt might be a course of action. But having seen the Dolphins make a great play to wide receiver Brain Hartline, I’m sure the Titans would rather take their chances in overtime than give up a deep ball. Dan Carpenter and his long field-goal range was another factor. In the end, I’m sure there were merits to calling a timeout, but I think the Titans would have rather been safe than sorry. Also, the Titans defense was very tired at this point in the game since it had given up nine first downs in the quarter and was reeling. The break was needed — Fisher wanted to play it safe, and having been at the game and on the field for the end of the game, I could see the Titans were tired and needed a break. Overtime was a better option than having to deal with the threat of the Dolphins. But both sides have merit.
2-6-MIA 6 (:12) L.Polite up the middle to MIA 9 for 3 yards (G.McRath).
The Titans lost the toss, then won the game with a play in overtime. So it worked out well for Fisher and his team. He was smart to be cautious at the end of the game, especially when his defense was tired and reeling.
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