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#pounditSaturday, January 28, 2023

Todd Bowles has surprising explanation for not using key timeout

Sep 9, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles looks on before a game against the Dallas Cowboysn at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a chance to beat the Cleveland Browns on Sunday before the game went to overtime, and fans will not be thrilled with the reason Todd Bowles gave for his team’s lack of urgency.

The Browns scored a touchdown with 32 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the score at 17-17. Tampa Bay had all three timeouts remaining at that point, so most assumed Tom Brady and company would try to move into position for a game-winning field goal on their ensuing drive. Instead, they had some puzzling clock management.

Following a touchback, the Bucs took over at their own 25 with 32 seconds left. Brady completed a very short pass to Rachaad White on first down, and the clock continued to run. He then threw a 28-yard completion to Julio Jones, which got the Buccaneers to the Cleveland 48-yard line. They finally decided to use their first timeout with just 8 seconds remaining.

By then, too much time had come off the clock. Brady threw back-to-back incompletions on the next two plays to end regulation. Bowles was asked on Monday why the Bucs did not use their timeouts sooner. He said they did not want to risk giving the ball to the Browns in plus territory with enough time remaining if Brady threw an interception.

“It could have been an interception as well,” Bowles said. “We said if we didn’t get yardage on the first play, we wouldn’t call a timeout. We would probably let the clock run. If (Brady) saw something, he could throw it, but we didn’t get any yards on the first play. We got one or two yards and we were backed up. If we would have thrown a pick, the ball could’ve gone the other way and they could have kicked the winning field goal. We felt better going into overtime.”

The reason the explanation was surprising is that Brady rarely ever makes mistakes in situations like the one the Bucs were presented with. Brady is known for his composure late in games, which is why most people thought Bowles would let him try to win the game with 32 seconds and all three timeouts.

One wild stat showed just how rare it was for Brady’s team to lose the way they did. Had the Bucs been more aggressive, perhaps the outcome would have been different.

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