Jeff Saturday Experiences Bad Game Management For First Time, Learns Coaches Can Call Timeouts

Stephen Douglas
Pittsburgh Steelers v Indianapolis Colts
Pittsburgh Steelers v Indianapolis Colts / Michael Hickey/GettyImages
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Jeff Saturday's complete lack of experience seemed to rear its ugly head for the first time on Monday Night Football against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 12. Trailing by a touchdown with 3:52 and all three timeouts remaining, the Colts were in pretty good shape against a Pittsburgh defense they'd moved the ball well against throughout the second half. And they did move the ball. All the way from their own seven to the Pittsburgh 26 before things completely fell apart.

While the Colts did move the ball on the final drive, they showed little urgency or concern for the amount of time remaining. Coming out of the two-minute warning Matt Ryan hit Michael Pittman for 33 yards on 4th-and-three. Rather than use a timeout the Colts lined up and ran a play with 1:35 remaining and Ryan took a sack. Rather than use a timeout there they let the clock tick all the way down to 1:01 before Matt Ryan ran for 14 yards on 2nd-and-17. While Ryan probably should have been given a first down because he dove instead of slid, it doesn't really matter.

The time continued to run off the clock as the Colts again lined up - still with all three timeouts remaining - and ran a play that did not work. Finally, facing fourth down with the game on the line they called a timeout to draw up another play that did not work. The Steelers took over with 24-seconds remaining and the game was over. Asked about the clock management after the game Saturday said that he wasn't concerned and didn't feel the Colts were pressed for time.

And to Saturday's credit, the Colts did not run out of time. There were still 24-seconds remaining when they turned the ball over on downs. Plenty of time to move the ball closer to the goal line and get a few good shots at the end zone in an alternate timeline where they didn't turn the ball over on downs.

Saturday probably learned a tough lesson Monday night. He has now experienced poor game management for the first time. He might now understand that not all timeouts are strictly used to save time. Sometimes you really do need to talk things over. Sometimes your team needs a breath or needs to regroup. Experienced, qualified coaches might know that and not embarass themselves. Which is why you probably won't see many tweets or takes like these today.

Since the Colts beat the (then 2-7 Raiders) in Saturday's debut, they have now dropped two straight. The Steelers team that they lost to on Monday, quarterbacked by a rookie making just his 7th start, came into the game with a 3-7 record. This was a team the Colts could have beaten. And maybe they would have if their coach knew how to call a timeout. Maybe that will come with experience.

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