I wanted to take a closer look at why Rex Ryan did not call a time-out during the Dolphins final drive of the game. Frankly, it didn't occur to me at the time that he should, so it was only with 20-20 hindsight that I began to think about it, and to ask, "Would it have mattered?"
Ryan said after the game that he expected his defense to stop the Dolphins drive, but the rest of the game (how many lead changes?) says otherwise and exposes a little bit of hubris on Ryan's part.
It's taken me a little while to put this together, largely due to the fact that my "tape-management" skills are not that hot!
Here are the last few plays of the game - clock times are in parentheses.
- 3-10-NYJ 16 (1:06) Henne pass short right to Camarillo to NYJ 4 for 12 yards.
(Jets should have called time-out here, but the Fins run 37 seconds off the clock. Jets could have saved 30 seconds by taking a time out.)
- 1-4-NYJ 4 (:23) Direct snap to Brown to NYJ 2 for two yards.
- Timeout by MIA at 00:17.
- 2-2-NYJ 2 (:17) Henne pass incomplete to Fasano.
- 3-2-NYJ 2 (:10) Direct snap to Brown for the touchdown.
- Kickoff to Jets
- New York Jets take possession at 00:06 remaining.
- 1-10-NYJ 43 (:03) Sanchez pass incomplete deep right to Cotchery.
I make that at minimum 33 seconds left on the field, which could have translated into four or five plays (average seven seconds/play) if the Jets' receivers got out of bounds quickly.
That seems like enough time to move the ball 57 yards in a hurry-up set of plays and a time out remaining. I am also sure that Miami would have used their remaining time out at some point.
I am not claiming the the Jets could have made that actually happen in 33 seconds, but they could have tried. I don't see any reason ever to leave time-outs on the field. At the very minimum, it gives your players a breather.