Colts president Bill Polian conducted his final radio show of the year on Monday night. Unlike last year, when he declined to talk about the Super Bowl loss to the Saints under the time-honored notion that “past is prologue,” Polian talked extensively about Saturday night’s deflating home loss to the Jets, which occurred when the Colts allowed the Jets to drive down the field for a game-winning field goal after kicker Adam Vinatieri delivered an apparent game-winning field goal.
The biggest question remains the Colts’ decision to call a time out with 29 seconds left and the Jets having the ball at the Indy 32, which would have translated to a 50-yard attempt by sawed-off-shotgun-accurate kicker Nick Folk.
Said coach Jim Caldwell on Sunday, “I didn’t care. I was going to make sure that they couldn’t. Make them snap the ball. They were in field goal range. We wanted to try to make them snap the ball as many times as they possibly could.”
Polian offered on Monday night up a different explanation, according to our friends at StampedeBlue.com.
Polian said that the Colts took the timeout to ensure that they were in the right defense for the next play. Polian also said he believes the timeout issue is a “moot point.”
“I’m at a loss to explain why it’s an issue,” Polian said. “The defense didn’t know what to call.”
Fine, but there’s a chance the offense didn’t know what to call, either. The time out gave the Jets a chance to regroup and to plan the next play — which ended up being a lot better than the defense the Colts ultimately called, moving the ball 18 yards closer to the goal post.
And if Caldwell’s and Polian’s conflicting excuses weren’t enough, Jets coach Rex Ryan told Michael Kay of ESPN 1050 on Monday that the time out didn’t matter because the Jets had one left, too.
Right, but what were the Jets going to do? The clock was ticking. If the Jets had called their time out with 29 seconds to go, they would have been risking a mad scramble to snap the ball and spike it if the next play ended with the clock still running, and then they likely would have had to kick the field goal on the next play, giving Indy a shot at a Music City Miracle-type finish. If the Jets had spiked it then and there, the next play would have been third down and eight from the Colts’ 32. If the Jets had lined up and called a play, the clock would have continued to tick — and the players may have been feeling a greater sense of anxiety and urgency than they did while emerging from a time out called by the Colts.
So while Polian would surely like to not talk about the major mistake that his head coach made, Polian’s desire to brush it off won’t make it go away. If the Colts don’t call a time out with 29 seconds to play on a turning clock with the Jets facing second and eight from the Indianapolis 32 with only one time out left, the Jets ultimately may have faced a much longer field goal — and Folk may have missed it.
Either way, we know that the outcome couldn’t have been any worse than the one that resulted from the Colts calling the time out.