In the fourth quarter of the Eagles’ loss to the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, Michael Vick was drilled by Chargers defensive lineman Jarius Wynn. Vick was shaken up on the play, which forced an official to call an injury timeout with 2:09 left in the game. At that point, Vick either had to leave the field for a play because of the injury timeout or Philly had to use one of its three team timeouts to keep him on the field. Kelly did not know the latter was an option, and he put Nick Foles in for a play.
“It’s an injured player,” Kelly said after the game, via Jordan Raanan of NJ.com. “Didn’t matter who it is. If it’s a left guard or center or whatever, they have to go out for a play because the ref determined they were injured.”
Foles came in on 2nd-and-10 with the Eagles threatening at San Diego’s 14-yard line. He threw a ball out of bounds near the corner of the end zone for an incompletion. Vick returned on the next play and threw an incomplete pass of his own, and the Eagles had to settle for a field goal to tie the game at 30-30. The Chargers went on to win 33-30.
Raanan pointed out that Rule 4, Section 5, Article 3 in the NFL rulebook reads as follows:
When an injury timeout is called, the injured player must leave the game for the completion of one down. The player will be permitted to remain in the game if:
(a) either team calls a charged team timeout;
(b) the injury is the result of a foul by an opponent; or
(c) the period ends or the two-minute warning occurs before the next snap.
Kelly later admitted that he did not realize he had an option to call a timeout and keep Vick in the game.
“That was on me,” he said, per CSNPhilly.com. “I should have asked.”
Kelly was also criticized for not chewing up more clock on the Eagles’ final drive, which is obviously one of the downsides to running an incredibly fast-paced offense and preaching speed to your team. Would one more Vick play have made a difference? We’ll never know, but I feel fairly confident Kelly won’t make the same mistake again going forward.