Robert Saleh explains clock management in final minute against Lions

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By: Billy Riccette

The New York Jets had a chance to kick a closer field goal than they ended up attempting but strangely wasted precious time. And yet, that wasn’t even the craziest event of the weekend in the NFL.

Still, it was a hot topic as many were left perplexed as to why the Jets didn’t use their timeouts in their final-minute drive against the Lions that culminated with a missed 58-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein. The Jets lost 20-17 and fell to 7-7, making the playoff mountain even taller to climb with three weeks left.

This is what Saleh had to say after the game about not calling a timeout:

“I’ll look back at it. With three timeouts, I feel like anything in bounds, obviously, you can be aggressive, just trying to save as many timeouts as I can. I can probably look back at it and say we could’ve used one, for sure, but at the same time, when you have three timeouts, time is not an issue whether you use one there or not. But, yeah, I could always, in hindsight for me, call a timeout to settle the guys down. But, as far as from a time standpoint, you still have plenty of time with three timeouts.”

After getting a chance to sleep on it and review it, Saleh gave a more detailed answer Monday and walked through the final drive.

“Yeah, I think I got about a half hour worth of sleep last night, but I’ll go through it with you all. I think it’s, not from a justification standpoint, but there’s stuff that I definitely could’ve done better. We took possession at the 25 (yard line) with 1:49 on the clock, with all three of our timeouts, and thought process for us is to save those three timeouts up until a minute. You want to save them for a catastrophe whether you need them, whatever situation. So, you’re trying to save those timeouts until inside one minute, so we took the sack on first down. We’re good with letting it run, that one checks off fine from an analytical standpoint. Second and 19 goes incomplete. The third and 19, there was 1:22 on the clock when it got snapped, and you could argue for a timeout in that situation, we felt really good about when we looked up, there’s about 1:15 – 1:20 on the clock. So, again analytically, we felt good about the decision to let that run and to continue playing, but from there, it’s textbook, next ball inbounds is call a timeout. First down goes incomplete and with 0:53 seconds left, 2nd and 10, Garrett (Wilson) catches the ball for a 10-yard gain. This is the one where I definitely overthought the situation, that’s the one where I definitely overthought it, call a timeout it’s 0:49 seconds left. Felt like we got the better end of a spot, and I was trying to beat New York on a challenge, and that’s the one I overthought. It didn’t matter, we’re not playing for downs in this situation, we’re playing for time, and when you look at it all, I definitely probably cost us one more snap in that transaction. So, something that I definitely need to be better at, definitely overthought it, and wish I could have that one back. The rest of the game played out the way it did.”

So there’s at least how Saleh looked at it on Sunday. Unfortunately, the rest of the game didn’t play out as they had hoped and now the Jets are in must-win territory the rest of the way if they want to reach the postseason.

Originally posted on Jets Wire

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