Brandon Staley Explains Calling Late Timeout in Chargers' OT Loss to Raiders

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 10, 2022

Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley attends a news conference after an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
AP Photo/David Becker

Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley defended his decision to call a timeout with 38 seconds remaining in Sunday's overtime loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, saying the team needed to get the correct personnel on the field.

“We needed to get in the right grouping,” Staley told reporters. “We felt like they were going to run the ball, so we wanted to get our best 11 personnel run defense in, make that substitution so we could get a play where we would deepen the field goal.”

Staley made the questionable call as the Raiders slowly worked their way down the field in overtime, seemingly content to play for a tie, which would have seen both teams make the playoffs.

The Raiders had the ball at the Chargers' 39-yard line when Staley called the timeout. They ran one more play, a 10-yard Josh Jacobs run, to set up Daniel Carlson's game-winning field goal.

“It definitely did, obviously,” Raiders quarterback Derek Carr told NBC’s Michelle Tafoya when asked whether Staley's timeout changed the team's outlook. “But we knew, no matter what, we didn’t want a tie. We wanted to win the football game.”

The Raiders win allowed the Pittsburgh Steelers to sneak into the playoffs after they defeated the Baltimore Ravens earlier Sunday.

Staley's aggressive play-calling has been a polarizing subject for much of the season, with some fans applauding Staley for trusting his offense on fourth-down situations and others wondering if a conservative approach would have been more effective. The Chargers were third in the NFL with 34 fourth-down attempts, and they tied for fourth in the NFL with a 64.7 percent conversion rate. Those numbers indicate Staley's aggressiveness played in the Chargers' favor overall, but it's hard to find the justification for his late timeout.

The Raiders were showing no urgency at a point in the game where a tie behooved both teams. Staley's personnel decision also backfired after Jacobs ripped off a solid run against the new group.

This is a situation where the first-year coach will have to take his lumps and reckon with the fact he may have cost his own team a playoff spot.