The Clock Was the Enemy Again

All too often following a game this season Jaguars fans were left wondering what happened to cause the team to lose. Sunday was no different as the Jags dropped their game in Cleveland, 14-10. We will break down what caused Jacksonville to come away empty.

Sunday's loss to the Browns was especially painful for Jaguars fans, as the final outcome likely didn't reflect who the better team was. Jacksonville continually shot itself in the foot with bad penalties and poor decisions, as well as a lack to convert easy opportunities. We're going to look at what the coaching staff could've done better.

Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio seems baffled whenever the clock comes into play as Jacksonville might just be the worst team in football at clock management. This is a league that includes Andy Reid.

With the game tied at 7 nearing halftime, the Jaguars had the ball at the Cleveland 43-yard line with 57 seconds left. Jacksonville was only able to advance the ball three yards in 42 seconds, due to penalties. With 15 seconds remaining, the Jaguars were faced with a 4th-and-7 from the Cleveland 40-yard line. After wasting their final timeout, Del Rio opted to punt the ball.

If the team wouldn't have burned the timeout, they could've ran a play to possibly get closer for a Josh Scobee field goal. Even if they threw incomplete, Cleveland would've had just eight seconds to try and get points, which isn't very likely. Del Rio could've also attempted a 57-yard field, a long shot by any standards, but two yards inside of Scobee's career long. Again, the reward would be three points and the risk would've been minimal, as Cleveland would have taken over at their own 47-yard line with approximately six seconds remaining.

In a game which was decided by four points with the Jaguars final drive stalling at the Cleveland two-yard line, the potential of three points would've been huge.

As poor as the clock management was at the half, the end of the game's mental malfunction will be remembered even more so. With 41 seconds remaining and facing a 3rd-and-1, the Jaguars decided to run Maurice Jones-Drew up the middle for three yards. The play call was correct but Del Rio and company failed to call timeout with 30 seconds remaining. Instead they ran a play, another run up the middle that yielded one yard and were forced to use their final timeout with eight seconds left, leaving time for just two plays. With eight seconds remaining it was obvious that the Jags would throw the football.

There's no guarantee that the team would've scored if they had time for another play, but they would've had another play to try and score.

As for the playcalling, hindsight is always 20/20 and if Jason Hill caught a pretty easy touchdown pass we would be talking about something entirely different. With that said, I would've ran the football with MJD on the last play because he's my best football player and I think he can make a yard. Either do that or have a run/pass option with the athletic Blaine Gabbert.

"Our offensive coordinator calls the plays," Jack Del Rio said as he was tying offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter to the train-tracks. "I can't speak to his thinking. You'll have to get with him."

I'm sorry Coach Del Rio, you don't get the benefit of the "I don't call the plays" excuse at the end of a close game. Especially when your team has messed up the end of game situations on two other occasions this season. If you have no say in the play calls then why are you the head coach? Stand by your coordinators in that situation or you'll lose respect not only from the coaching staff, but from the guys inside the locker room.



Charlie Bernstein is the NFL Insider for ESPNFlorida.com and ESPN 1080 and 1040 in Orlando/Tampa and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @nflcharlie

Jags Illustrated Top Stories