Why are so many teams having problems managing the clock nowadays? It seems like every week one team loses a game because they waste so much time running the two-minute drill.Last week, it was the San Francisco 49ers that fell victim to poor time usage on Monday Night Football.
The 49ers had 20 seconds and no timeouts, but enough time to run almost any play they wanted to call.
If they throw it and it falls incomplete, they probably still have time for two plays.
If they run it and don’t make it, they have enough time to get up and spike it.
They chose to run it, with Frank Gore going left. Gore was ruled down by contact at the two-yard-line.
As the 49ers hustle back to the line to spike it, they are flagged for not enough men on the line of scrimmage, which is a penalty plus a ten-second runoff that would have ended the game.
But replay official David Coleman had initiated a challenge to the last play, Gore’s run. The challenge wipes out the penalty, and puts the ball on the two, making it third down with four seconds left.
Instead of the spike play, the 49ers choose to run a play up the middle.
Fine, except for one thing, they had taken Gore out and put in Michael Robinson, the backup running back who gives up 25-30 pounds to Gore and is not suited for goal-line duty. The Cardinals stop him a yard short and hang on for the win.
Two questions come to mind here. First, why do you take out your best running back when you need two yards?
Second, Gore’s knee touched the ground with around 12 seconds left. Why wasn’t the clock set back to that time after the replay?
Still, four seconds was enough time to run a spike play and get the proper personnel in for one more play.
That responsibility falls on the coaches. They failed miserably at managing the game and that’s why they lost.
Maybe coaches will make more of an effort to work on clock management this week.
Then again, this type of problem seems to keep popping up again and again, so I’m not going to hold my breath.