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#pounditSunday, July 21, 2024

Todd Bowles explains his timeout decision at end of Lions loss

Todd Bowles on the sideline

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 could have actually gotten the ball back for one more shot against the Detroit Lions at the end of Sunday’s NFC Divisional game, but coach Todd Bowles did not bother using his final timeout to make it happen.

Lions linebacker Derrick Barnes intercepted Baker Mayfield with 1:33 left in the fourth, but the Buccaneers did still have a timeout remaining. They did not use it initially, even when the Lions did not use the full 40-second play clock on their three kneeldowns. After Jared Goff’s final kneeldown to make it fourth down, there were still 36 seconds to go and the Buccaneers still had their timeout.

Had they used it, the Lions likely would have attempted a 49-yard field goal. If successful, it would have effectively ended the game. If not, the Buccaneers would have had about 30 seconds to go roughly 60 yards down by eight.

After the game, however, coach Todd Bowles essentially said the opportunity was not worth bothering with.

“They already had the field goal lined up, and there would’ve been about 12 seconds left on the clock to end the ball game. We weren’t going to come back from that,” Bowles explained.

Bowles would have been correct about the lack of time had the Lions used the entire play clock on the final kneeldown, but for whatever reason, they did not do that. As shown on the TV broadcast, Goff’s final knee came with about 37 seconds left and 14 seconds remaining on the play clock. Had Bowles called timeout at that moment, the Buccaneers would have had much more time than he suggests.

To be clear, a Buccaneer comeback was highly unlikely even with optimal game management. However, stranger things have happened, and with a spot in the NFC Championship at stake, it’s hard to believe Bowles did not want to at least try to make something miraculous happen. It almost feels like he just assumed the Lions would manage the clock properly and checked out before it became apparent that they hadn’t.

Sunday’s game was not exactly a masterpiece in in-game management on either side, but the Lions prevailed on the day.

UPDATE: There is an even more reasonable explanation for the matter.

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