Polian’s timeout explanation conflicts with Caldwell’s

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.

38 responses to “Polian’s timeout explanation conflicts with Caldwell’s

  1. “which would have translated to a 50-yard attempt by sawed-off-shotgun-accurate kicker Nick Folk.”


    “Sawed-off-shotguns” aren’t accurate. That’s why they’re called “scatter guns”. They’re about as accurate as a nuclear blast. Deadly and effective, but not accurate.

  2. As much as I dislike Polian. As much as I think Caldwell has no business being a head coach. I must agree that much is made about nothing on this timeout thingy.

  3. Mistake by Caldwell, simple as that. The Jets had 1 TO & were in the 45-50 yard fg range. They were about to take it. The Colts calling TO allowed the Jets to take the shot to Edwards & save their TO. I doubt they would have done that with no time outs left. They would have been scrambling to clock the ball & get set. Too risky.

    If Caldwell hadn’t called a TO, the Jets likely run up the middle & call a TO to set up a straight shot for Folk. From 40-50, instead of a chippy.

  4. My interpretation was that the Colts wanted to save time for themselves to score in case the Jets scored. I didn’t agree with it, but I assumed thats why they did it. At least that makes more sense than Caldwell’s answer.

  5. @rayguyreturns:

    …exactly. That’s the point – putting Folk, a certifiable nutcase, in position to kick a for-all-the-marbles FG from 50 yards would have been a pretty gutsy call.

    Because Folk sucks.

  6. There is no excuse for the time out. None whatsoever. Caldwell obviously erred in calling it. Because his explanation during the post-game presser was a meandering, nonsensical rant. I’ve read it 6 times and I still have no idea what he’s saying.

    And now Polian (whom I believe to be among the most overrated executive in the entire NFL) is saying the defense wasn’t set?

    All you had to do was look at Peyton Manning’s expression on the sideline. He knew it. We knew it. Hell, the announcers who are usually wrong most of the time even knew it. My 7 year old cousin watching the game knew it, and he was playing with his Hess Truck at the time.

    The Jets had one time out in hand and were only in position to allow their near-awful kicker to kick a 50 yarder. Sanchez was air mailing footballs all game, and the clock was ticking. You call a time out, give them a breather and a chance to discuss a play with Schotty, and these are the explanations you come up with? If anything they gain a few more yards (if Sanchez doesn’t find a way to cough the ball up), burn the last time out, and send Folk out to shank a 45+ yarder.

    I’m shocked this isn’t getting more press than it has. Caldwell should be fired. No joke.

  7. “Sawed-off-shotguns” aren’t accurate. That’s why they’re called “scatter guns”. They’re about as accurate as a nuclear blast


    Sounds like Nick Folk to me.

  8. What is annoying me is the focus on the timeout. There were 4 HUGE coaching issues at the end of that game, all of which are the responsibility of the head coach to call:

    1) Taj Smith running into the punter. True, the net result of this was null because the defense stopped them on the next series. However, against *any* other team currently in the playoffs, that lost the game for the Colts. As head coach, it is incumbent upon you to get your guys together and say “Your job on this punt is to field the ball cleanly and get it to Manning, and prevent any potential trick plays.” Caldwell failed to do this, and the penalty was called.

    2) 3rd and 7 from the 34. Peyton wanted to throw for the first down and end the game. Understandable. As the head coach, YOU have to be the one that realizes that you have to put your team in a win-win situation. If you run the ball it’s a win-win. If you get the first down, game is over. If you don’t, you get between 0-7 yards and put yourself in a better position for a FG. We didn’t have Dallas Clark and Austin Collie, it was Jacob Tamme and Blair White… as the coach you HAVE to call what is smart. Caldwell failed to do this.

    3) 4 of the 11 guys on the kickoff team were added in December. As the head coach, being up by 1 with ~50 seconds remaining, you have to ask yourself “What do I do here to ensure the ONE thing that can lose the game for us? You squib the ball, you kick it high so they have to fair catch at the ~25… you already know Sanchez can’t throw the ball down the field for a win. If the special teams stops the return between the 20 and 30 yard lines, the game is essentially over barring a miracle. Caldwell failed to do this and allowed the weakest unit on the team to do nothing special to ensure victory.

    4) Calling a timeout for the Jets. I don’t care that Polian and Caldwell’s explanations don’t match… it’s horrible. That was amateur league crap. You call a prevent type defense by default and give up maybe 5-10 yards at most if you aren’t sure what to call. You don’t call a timeout and let the team fighting the clock regroup.

    This was the worst end-of-game management I have ever seen out of a Colts team, and I was never a fan of how Dungy handled game management. I want to go down to Indy HQ today and apply for the Head Coach job with the qualification: “I’m not Jim Caldwell.”

  9. mikeyhigs says: Jan 11, 2011 11:37 AM

    My interpretation was that the Colts wanted to save time for themselves to score in case the Jets scored. I didn’t agree with it, but I assumed thats why they did it. At least that makes more sense than Caldwell’s answer.

    You’re right. That’s more than likely the explanation for why he did it. He just didn’t want to admit it because he would get laughed at for thinking that they would have enough time to get the ball back and score.

  10. Once again it’s realized that being a Head Coach in the NFL doesn’t mean you understand Logic or can think on your feet….experience is the best teacher, how long has Caldwell been a head coach?

    Doesn’t he have somebody he can trust feeding him info that he can assimilate and make a good decision–or did he and they made him look like a rube!

  11. In 2010, Folk is 2 for 5 from 50+ & 3 for 6 from 40-49. He hasn’t connected from outside 40 since week 6.

    But Jim Caldwell doesn’t have the mental capacity to understand the difference between Adam Vinatieri attempting a 50-yarder (greatest clutch kicker ever, crushing the ball right down the middle in recent games, a wily veteran at home) & Nick Folk (inconsistent all year from long range, young kicker on the road with the game on his shoulders).

    Heck, Jim Caldwell doesn’t have the mental capacity to understand that he f’d up in Jacksonville & he f’d up again on Saturday night.

    If the Colts wise up & fire his incompetent butt, he would be the next beer commercial TV star as “THE MOST INTELLECTUALLY CHALLENGED MAN IN THE WORLD!!!”

  12. I’m sorry, but clock mismanagement didn’t begin and end here. Both teams mismanaged the clock.

    Poor decision making cost the Colts from beginning to end. With time left on the clock at halftime along with two time outs – the Colts sit on the ball with a seven point lead? Come on man – it took Sanchez that amount of time to get into field goal range (thanks to a Colt’s time out).

    I would watch this game again but it’s too pathetic.

  13. Polian explanation that is was for getting the right players on the field/defensive formation makes perfect sense IF IF IF ONLY IF that was the reason Caldwell used for his calling of HIS timeout – but Caldwell clearly said then repeated he did it for one of the dumbest reasons anyone could think of “make Jets more plays they may fumble, be intercepted, etc.” AND he already lost a game vs. Jacksonville doing the exact same thing.

    As they say, “an intelligant man learns from his mistakes, an ignorant man thinks he never made one(to correct).

  14. Not having the right defense called, as I commented the other day, is about the only valid defense for calling the timeout; I wouldn’t have done it even if that was the case, but I think you can defend the decision on those grounds. I don’t believe for a second, however, that that was the reason it was called. Given Caldwell’s obviously confused explanation post-game, it’s clear that the coach froze-up in a high pressure situation and was unable to think clearly. Simply put, the coach was not prepared for that scenario and was confused about what the appropriate decision was.

  15. We Colts fans have learned long ago to ignore Bill Polian. He lies. He lies regularly and he’s really bad at it.

  16. Did Bill “I’ve never made a mistake in my life” Polian explain the horrific clock management in the last Colts drive? Once Tamme catches the pass for a first down at the 46, there was no need to rush to the line to get a play off before the 2 minute warning. With 2 TOs there, you want to take your time. But then it got much worse. After the pass to White got them to the Jets 36, nearly in FG range, they could have let the clock run down to 1:15 before the next snap. Instead, they rushed to the line and snapped it at 1:42. At this point, they belatedly realized they needed to run clock and let it go down to 1:10 before the next play. Don’t know who gets the blame here–Caldwell or Manning, but if they had managed it right, they would have been kicking the FG with under 30 secs left or the Jets would have burned all their TOs. Of course, when you let them return the kickoff to midfield, you might lose anyway, and deservedly so.

  17. Jim Caldwell=Not qualified to be an NFL head coach.

    I was watching the game and the Colts’ real head coach, Peyton Manning, was whining about it when it happened. Manning was right. He should have overruled his underling in that situation. But it was too late — Caldwell already called the timeout.

    Caldwell’s excuse was almost as hilarious as the TO itself.

  18. Randolph32,

    He’s been a head coach for 30 NFL games. But surely he’s… you know… WATCHED football his entire life!

    Oh… and by the way he was head coach of Wake Forest for 8 years where he accumulated a… wait for it… 26-63 record. Yes, that’s a .292 winning percentage.

    The numbers don’t lie and neither does every fan in the bar (and his quarterback) calling him names when he lost ANOTHER game because of his timeout decision making.

    It wouldn’t be such an uproar except he did the EXACT same thing just a month ago! If your head coach can’t learn from his mistakes well, I don’t know I’ve never heard of an NFL head coach losing two games the exact same way in the same season and keeping his job.

  19. This indicates to me that the Colts were unprepared. I think the kick return to the 46 caught the coaching staff completely off guard. What gets me is that they had time to regroup because the next play had to go to review.

    Belichick had one of these moments last year when he went for it on 4 and 2 against these same Colts. With 2:08 left and leading 34-28, BB calls a timeout on 4 and 2. If I remember, he did so because the play clock was going to expire. Obviously, the better thing to do would have been to let the two minute warning occur and then run your next play. I understand taking the timeout, but if they were better prepared and had decided to go for it on 4 and 2 at the beginning of the drive, I don’t see how that mistake happens.

    I supported going for it but it seemed to me that BB didn’t decide to go for it until it actually was 4 and 2. A suprising lack of planning on his part and it made the play far less likely to succeed. Isn’t that a decision you make before the offensive series begins, so you can at least attempt to set up for that possible scenario? So even the best of coaches get a little overwhelmed.

  20. Caldwell looks over his head and lost on the sideline. Everytime they show him he’s all alone staring out onto the field with that blank look on his face.

  21. thingamajig – I’ve been saying the same thing since last year’s Super Bowl. Not sure I’d call it blank, but definitely “in over his head”, “worried”, maybe even “befuddled”, though.

  22. You know the look of extreme bewilderment Caldwell usually has on his face during games? Thats not an act. I’d bet money that his headset isn’t even plugged in.
    Manning runs this team, and now he’ll be the one calling the timeouts too!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!