Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio was playing for overtime.
With 42 seconds left, the Jaguars held the ball at their own 23-yard line with only one timeout left. Jacksonville called a run up the middle to Maurice Jones-Drew; he picked up eight yards. Colts coach Jim Caldwell then called a timeout.
The decision was so inexplicable, I didn’t want to write about it because I feared the CBS broadcast of the game somehow goofed. Jacksonville had the ball, with a strong-legged kicker, virtually no time left, and they were content to play for OT. And Caldwell wouldn’t let them.
Despite watching the Colts defense get run over all day — they gave up 5 yards-per-carry and 7.4 yards-per-pass — Caldwell thought he could stop the Jaguars cold on two straight plays. Then he’d use all his timeouts, and get the ball back in time for Peyton Manning to win. That would all have to happen in 36 seconds.
Caldwell said after the game he didn’t want to let the Jaguars run out the clock, according to the Indianapolis Star. Jaguars.com’s Vic Ketchman called it a “slap in the face.”
Given a second life, David Garrard went to work. Incomplete pass. Six-yard strike to Tiquan Underwood. 22-yard completion to Underwood again. Incomplete pass. Game-winner by Scobee.
If the Colts recorded a sack on first down to start the drive, the timeout is almost defensible. After an eight-yard run, it’s certifiable. Of course the team with the ball has a much better chance to win in a tie game. The odds on stopping the Jaguars, getting the ball back in time, and winning in regulation were ridiculously long.
The odds on the Jaguars making Caldwell look very, very bad were clearly much higher.