36 Second Question

October 25, 2010 | Thyrl Nelson

I’ll start by saying that I don’t think the sky is falling. Life in the NFL (for my money) is a week to week proposition, and although there’s plenty to be concerned about, I haven’t seen anything from this team that leads me to believe that they can’t or won’t be a force when the time comes.

The biggest concern that I have from yesterday’s game and one that I haven’t seen discussed anywhere specifically is the following, and I’m not sure on whom the onus for this falls, Flacco, Cameron, Harbaugh or every man on the sideline are all arguable.

Anyway, after Fitzpatrick completes to Evans to pull Buffalo to within 3 at 34-31, the Ravens get the kickoff and begin their drive with 5:40 (340 seconds) on the clock.
- First play, incomplete pass to Heap clock stops at 5:36 (I can live with that I like the aggressiveness)
- Second play, play fake and 35 yard completion to Mason clock rolling, first down
- Third play (and most inexplicable) clock rolling Ravens snap with 17 seconds left on the play clock at 4:54 – 17 seconds!!!!! – Rice runs, short gain, clock rolling
- Fourth Play, another Rice run another short gain but snapped at 4:15 with 8 seconds left on the play clock – clock still rolling
- Fifth play, snapped at 3:39 with 11 seconds left on the play clock – incomplete pass, clock stops

Ravens punt with the clock stopped at 3:33 on a drive that could have, and some might say should have, ended the game. Forget the play calls themselves, the 36 seconds that they left on the clock represent more than 10% of the total time remaining in the game when the drive began in the first place.

For their part, the Bills helped the Ravens effort while using nearly all of their play clock with the game clock rolling in what turned out to be the tying drive. But considering that the game was ultimately tied with less than 10 seconds remaining it certainly could have been the difference between OT or not.

While I appreciate the efficiency of the offense in getting their plays in quickly, I have to wonder what they were thinking there…if anything.

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