With 1:04 remaining in the fourth quarter, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer called a timeout on defense. After the timeout, just before the Cowboys snapped the ball, Zimmer called timeout again. That’s a no-no.
NFL teams can’t call consecutive timeouts, and the officials are supposed to ignore a second timeout call. But the officials wrongly granted the timeout, and by rule, being granted a second timeout is defensive delay of game, a five-yard penalty.
Zimmer took the blame on himself afterward.
“I screwed up,” Zimmer said. “I forgot that I called one. Somebody yelled at me. I knew the play that they were running, it was really the same play that they hit against us for a long touchdown. Somebody said ‘call timeout’ and I did. The official wasn’t supposed to grant it. They’re supposed to not — anyway, it’s not his fault. So we ended up getting a five-yard penalty.”
Even worse than the two timeouts were what the Vikings did afterward: Allowed Ezekiel Elliott to turn a short pass into a third-and-11 conversion, and then allowed the game-winning touchdown on the next play. Zimmer’s screwup was bad, but his defense’s performance after that was worse.