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#pounditThursday, February 9, 2023

Jeff Saturday makes admission about clock management

Jeff Saturday with a headset on

Indianapolis Colts interim head coach Jeff Saturday walks the sideline Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Photo Credit: Jenna Watson/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

Jeff Saturday was criticized for his clock management at the end of the Indianapolis Colts’ 24-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night, and it would seem the interim coach felt a bit differently about the sequence after sleeping on it.

The Colts began their final possession at their 7 with just under four minutes left, needing a touchdown to have a chance at winning or tying the game. They inexplicably let a lot of time run off the clock once they crossed midfield, even though they had timeouts to use. Saturday said after the game that he “didn’t really think time was of the essence.” He was asked about the sequence again on Tuesday.

Saturday told reporters that he would do things differently if the same situation arose again.

“Obviously, there’s things everybody wants to do and plays they want back. I wish I had that third down back. In all honesty, I wish I had used a timeout,” Saturday said. “From a time perspective I felt good, but you could tell we were in disarray. I just didn’t have a great feel. … It’s a learning experience. I didn’t meet my expectations and I’m accountable for that. That one is the one that’s gonna stick with me.”

The Colts converted a 4th-and-3 at the Pittsburgh 37 for their first play after the 2-minute warning. Matt Ryan was then sacked on first down with the clock running. Ryan scrambled for 14 yards on 2nd-and-17, and the Colts still declined to call timeout. By the time they lined up for their 3rd-and-3 play, there were only 34 seconds left. Jonathan Taylor was stopped for no gain, and then Indy finally called timeout with 30 seconds left. They used up a minute and a half on three plays before calling a timeout.

Indy failed to convert on 4th-and-3, which ended their comeback chances.

Even if Saturday felt the clock was not an issue, a timeout could have given his offense a chance to get more organized. He probably realized that after watching the film.

The Colts’ offense was abysmal for much of the night, which was a bigger issue for them than clock management. Troy Aikman even had a brutal description of Indy’s inability to move the ball. If Saturday had used his timeouts, it’s possible Indy would not have been able to tie the game or go ahead, anyway. He obviously wants his players to know he holds himself accountable either way.

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