Bucs coach gives odd explanation for not calling key timeout vs. Browns originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Todd Bowles' questionable clock management may have cost the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Sunday's overtime loss to the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns scored a game-tying touchdown with 32 seconds left in the fourth quarter, but that left plenty of time for Tom Brady and the Bucs to march down the field. The ex-New England Patriots quarterback has led an NFL record 55 game-winning drives in his career and the Bucs had all three of their timeouts at their disposal, so getting into field-goal range was a strong possibility.
Instead, Bowles didn't call a timeout until the Bucs got to Cleveland's 48-yard line with only eight seconds remaining in regulation. Brady threw back-to-back incompletions to end regulation, and the Browns went on to win late in overtime on a Nick Chubb touchdown run.
As if Bowles' clock management wasn't odd enough, his explanation was even more confusing. He said he didn't want to risk Brady throwing an interception that would put the Browns in plus territory with time left on the clock.
“It could have been an interception as well,” Bowles told reporters on Monday. “We said if we didn’t get yardage on the first play, we wouldn’t call a timeout. We would probably let the clock run. If (Brady) saw something, he could throw it, but we didn’t get any yards on the first play. We got one or two yards and we were backed up. If we would have thrown a pick, the ball could’ve gone the other way and they could have kicked the winning field goal. We felt better going into overtime.”
Given Brady's résumé in clutch situations, Bowles should have bet on the seven-time Super Bowl champion not making a critical mistake with the game on the line.
Despite the disappointing defeat, the Buccaneers still lead the NFC South with a 5-6 record. They will look to bounce back next Monday when they host the New Orleans Saints.