Eye on the Opponent

While Lovie Smith spent the early part of the week answering questions about why Chad Hutchinson didn't make his way onto the field before Sunday, clock management was a major topic of debate for the Jaguars.

They were leading the Pittsburgh Steelers, 16-14, when Ben Roethlisberger threw a nine-yard pass to the Jaguar 19 with a minute left.

The Jaguars chose not to use one of their two timeouts and Pittsburgh slowly came up to the line and ran 37 seconds off the clock before Roethlisberger spiked the ball to stop the clock with 23 seconds left.

The Jaguars then used a timeout to attempt to freeze kicker Jeff Reed but he kicked a 37-yard field goal with 18 seconds left to put the Steelers ahead, 17-16.

Jacksonville returned the ensuing kickoff to the Jacksonville 39 with 11 seconds remaining. Byron Leftwich threw a 19-yard pass to the Pittsburgh 42. The Jaguars then used their last timeout before Josh Scobee barely was wide right on a 60-yard field goal attempt.

Had they called timeout with a minute left, Pittsburgh would have had to decide whether to run a play. Denver fumbled in a similar situation in Jacksonville earlier this year.

Coach Jack Del Rio said of the decision not to call time out, "There's something to be questioned. (You) stop it there and then they run a play. They're going to put the clock to where they want it, regardless. I guess you could say you'd force them to execute a play.

"When the clock ran down, we elected to use the strategy we did. I'm not sure that would be the one that's talked about today in great detail. Certainly that's something you have to work through and we made a decision to let that run out at that point.

"We thought we'd have an opportunity to have timeouts left and take a shot down the field and get a field goal (attempt and) we did that."

But if they'd had another 15 or 20 seconds, they would have had a shot to get Scobee closer.


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