Nitpick McGee analyzes… Why did the Redskins call a time out with 2:03 left in the 4th Q?

No Mike! Don't call that TO!

Before I even get started here, let me first acknowledge that the following series had absolutely nothing to do with the outcome of the game, but it’s a game situation that I see NFL coaches repeatedly screw up, and it just kills me every time I see it.  And so, I just can’t let it go un-nitpicked.

Dallas had the ball with 1st and 10 at the Redskins’ 25 yard line with 2:08 left to play in the game. The Redskins were up by 2, but Dallas was clearly in control of the game at this point. They were in FG range and their kicker was 5 for 5 on the night, with all 5 kicks right down the middle.  The strategy for Dallas in this scenario is obvious – Burn as much time off the clock and waste as many of the Skins’ timeouts as you can before you kick the go-ahead FG.  Washington still had all 3 of their timeouts, so if Dallas didn’t get another first down, the Skins would have one last chance to drive down to kick a game-winning FG of their own.

So what happened?

– (2:08) – Tashard Choice off right tackle to the WAS 24 for 1 yard.

OK, so there’s one stop.  From here, you let it go down to the 2 minute warning, you retain all 3 of your timeouts, and you’re all but certain that the Cowboys, trying to burn up your 2 of your 3 remaining timeouts, will run two more times, so you can load up against the run and get a couple of easy stops.  If they want to risk stopping the clock by throwing an incomplete pass, by all means, go right ahead.

But wait… What?!?!?

– Timeout #1 by WAS at 02:03.

WHAT?!?!?  WHY?

Now, the Cowboys, with just 3 seconds until the 2-minute warning, knowing the clock is going to stop anyway no matter what they run, whether that be a run, pass, double reverse flea flicker, Annexation of Puerto Rico, or whatever, have their entire playbook open to them.

Back in ’09, the Raiders were faced with a similar situation against Philly.  They passed, got the first down, and killed the clock from there, ending the game without leaving the Eagles one last chance to drive down the field.  As it turned out, the Cowboys decided to run Tashard Choice into the line for no gain anyway.

In the end, the Skins actually did save those extra 3 seconds.  But it’s still the wrong move – the reward is hardly worth the risk.

Or maybe the Skins were hoping Dallas would pass, behind the Cowboys’ offensive line disaster waiting to happen?  Great, now I’ve just ruined my own 450-word post of something that didn’t really affect the game anyway.  What do you guys think, or did I just waste 5 minutes of your life?


  1. I do agree with all of the concepts you’ve introduced in your post. They are really convincing and can certainly work. Still, the posts are too short for newbies. May just you please prolong them a little from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

  2. Hiya very nice website!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Wonderful .. I will bookmark your website and take the feeds additionally?I’m satisfied to seek out so many helpful information here within the submit, we want work out more techniques on this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  3. Would love to always get updated great website ! .

  4. brisulph says:

    My wife was staring at me incredulously as I pontificated about why that was such a bad move, though the Cowboys chose to not make them pay by faking a run and throwing an easy completion.

  5. smutsboy says:

    So basically your criticism is that calling a timeout with 2:03 allows Dallas to pass if they want to, instead of just run?

    Shanahan’s primary concern was with saving time on the clock.

    It was the right call. It was extremely unlikely Dallas was going to pass, especially given what a sh-t show their passing game was.

    1. “So basically your criticism is that calling a timeout with 2:03 allows Dallas to pass if they want to, instead of just run?”


      “It was extremely unlikely Dallas was going to pass, especially given what a sh-t show their passing game was”

      Read the last paragraph.

  6. Number5 says:

    Andy was on the otherside of Mikes’s head set….

  7. Nick C says:

    I was seriously confused as to why they would call it to save three seconds before the 2 minutes. Those asslickers in the booth were praising it, hilarious. Lucky break for my boys, but I don’t think it would have stopped the sack fumble cause they only ran 2 plays before it happened I think.

    1. That Tri tip looks freaking good.

  8. Tron says:

    When I watched this last night I remembered you ripping Andy for a similar decision. Its a really stupid time out to take, no question.

  9. BSH EricT says:

    Heh. I was yelling the exact same thing at the tv as the announcers were praising the Redskins for calling the timeout to save a few seconds.

    Calling timeouts with 2:06 left is good. With 2:03 left, it’s bad.

  10. Turd.Ferguson says:

    IMO, this is a stupid decision. But the decision that really leaves me scratching my head was the one to blitz on 3rd and 21 with the game on the line. Huge risk, same reward as if you play max coverage.

%d bloggers like this: