Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

12 Sep 2005

Ravens' Late Timeouts Irritate Colts

Did anyone else think it was kinda weird that the Ravens called consecutive timeouts with 1:35 on the clock in the fourth quarter of a 24-0 game? I know it's one thing to avoid a shutout in a Week 1 home opener, but keeping people healthy seems important too. In other Ravens-related news, QB Kyle Boller suffered a 3rd quarter injury, but his backup, Anthony Wright, didn't fare much better. Still, I guess it's never too early to start the quarterback controversy discussions. (free registration/bugmenot required)

Posted by: P. Ryan Wilson on 12 Sep 2005

54 comments, Last at 16 Sep 2005, 8:13pm by bobman


by Bassett (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 10:07am

I looks like the immovable object was moved by the irresistible force...

Is it just me or did Ray Lewis getting schooled by Mungro a time or two feel really, really good?

by Whatever0 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 10:31am

I was too busy being pissed off at Wright and Stover for their "performances", but I didn't notice Mungro "schooling" Lewis. I saw Mungro make one play where he knocked him backwards, but Lewis still made the tackle. Overall, it seemed like Edge had to work really hard to get the yards he did.

by Whatever0 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 10:33am

Oh, and on topic: It didn't really strike me as odd. They wanted to get something out of that game, some type of positive, to build Wrights confidence up for next week, becuase there's a good chance he'll have to start.

by B (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 10:39am

Is it me, or are the Colts espicially whiney? Is it really a big deal that the Ravens used thier timeouts to try and score at the end of a blowout loss? I'm pretty sure this has happened before, and it'll happen again. Sure it's too bad the Colts didn't get thier shutout, but shutting out the Ravens isn't exactly a major accomplishment.

by Goldbach (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 10:51am

Also, there is a (incredibly small) chance that a playoff spot could come down to point differential at the end of the year.

IMO, as long as there is a chance of winning, teams should try to win. And there was a miniscule (but still positive) chance of winning.

by Nathan (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 11:15am

The Colts have just as much of a right to be irritated as the Ravens do to score.

It's part of the game, and the Colts responded like any team in their situation would. Trying for a long touchdown.

Good times.

by Kachunk (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 11:16am

It was a 4 possession game with a 1:35 left. Even Peyton couldn't make up that many points, much less a backup QB who had zero attempts last season. Besides, what's this "in front of the home crowd"...there were approximately 10 people left in the stadium by the time the Ravens took those timeouts.

by The Detroit Lions (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 11:37am

The Colts, and Peyton Manning in particular, are perfect gentlemen and would never resort to questionable college-esque tactics, particularly when highlighted on the national stage.

by RyanW (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 11:37am

Here's the IndyStar's version (click on my name). The funniest quote on the Ravens calling the timeouts is from DB Dexter Reid: "Man, I don't even do that in Madden." Nice.

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 11:44am

Shutting out Baltimore would have been an accomplishment -- the Ravens are a professional football team with good receivers and and very good running game. (They also had a starting QB who was overthrowing open receivers all night, but the Colts solved that problem for them.)

The part of Billick's decision which seems odd to me, is that he'd already lost one QB and had to know the Colts' defense would come after Wright during the face-saving TD drive (as they did). Did he really want to see the legendary Derek Anderson under center next week?

by Fiver (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 11:52am

I don't fault Billick at all for those time-outs. Your offense is being shut out and your starting QB just got carried off the field with what looks like a season-ending injury. Do you A) quit trying to win and go to the locker room or B) get your backup QB some snaps and try to put some points on the board?

Football is as much a game of morale as it is anything else. The coach should never quit or give his team a reason to lose heart.

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 12:01pm

Fiver (#11 )--

It's true that football is a game of morale. But maybe, after all the Superbowl talk in the off-season, Baltimore needed an unmitigated butt-kicking as a wake-up call.

They got one anyway, of course, but the last-minute TD can salvage some complacency as well as some pride. Or maybe it gives them some neccesary feel-good about Anothony Wright -- tough to say. I'm just not convinced it was worth the injury risk. What if Ed Reed had blown an ACL trying to cover Harrison on that third-down pass?

Decisions taken for pride are rarely a good risk.

by Independent George (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 12:03pm

Actually, I think Wright did fare a lot better. Sure, he threw 2 picks, but his throws seemed a lot crisper, and he moved them down the field a lot more efficiently.

#10 - The risk of injury has to be balanced against the benefits of giving your QB some reps at full speed. You can't protect him forever - he's going to get hit sooner or later anyway. Now, at least he's got some experience to build upon. I think letting Wright air it out was a good decision. Leaving Peyton in the game, however, increases risk to injury without such benefit.

by Mike (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 12:09pm

Wait, wait, confused New England fan here.

RyanW, did you say "Dexter Reid"? As in former NE safety Dexter Reid who consistently got burned in big games? Did he wind up on the Colts? Or does someone else have the same name?

Just interested...

by RyanW (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 12:12pm


Yep, I think you're right. The guy the Pats cut a few weeks ago is now a Colt. They signed him after they put LB Rocky Calmus on IR.

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 12:14pm

Mike (#14 )--

Yes, that Dexter Reid.

Don't knock Reid too hard -- he's a young player who works hard and tackles well. He got burned twice in coverage in the Superbowl, but saved Randall Gay's bacon when Terrell Owens broke a tackle in the fourth quarter. Everybody gets burned sometimes. (See: Harrison, Rodney, more than once against the Raiders this past Thursday.)

by Drew (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 12:20pm

Re: #5
Also, there is a (incredibly small) chance that a playoff spot could come down to point differential at the end of the year.

Theismann was promoting that idea last night, and it is 100% true. But I wonder how many people will remember that the next time they're accusing the Colts of running it up on someone, like say, the Lions.

by Mike (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 12:23pm

Re Reid,

I try not to knock him too hard. He does work really hard, and I was pulling for him last year. I was kind of sorry when he was cut (and sorrier to hear that Indy picked him up--the last thing the Pats need is to have Indy picking up someone that knows their defensive schemes inside and out and who practiced regularly against Tom Brady).

The unfortunate thing is, he was generally backing up Eugene Wilson, who I think is the REAL irreplacable key cog in the NE defense and one of the better safeties in the NFL, and Reid just isn't as good as Wilson. Which became painfully obvious when the other team gets him matched up against a premier reciever.

by DavidH (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 1:51pm

Not only is point differential behind head-to-head, conference record, division record (where applicable), and record in common games, it is also behind strength-of-schedule and strength-of-victory for God's sake. If the Ravens making the playoffs this year or not depends on their point differential, I will literally eat my shorts. You can bookmark this thread, too, so you know where this claim is. Not gonna happen.

by jebmak (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 2:06pm

Wasn't there a situation a few years ago where the tie breaker came down to points between three NFC teams? It seems like if the Giants or Saints won their last game by 50 or something, they would make it.

by ChicagoScott (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 2:09pm

Dexter Reid will help the Colts improve on special teams. He is 2nd or 3rd string behind Sanders, Doss, & Jefferson at safety.

Once again, the Colts-haters & Manning-haters get some more "proof" of Manning being all about the stats. But let's take a REAL look at the evidence which PROVES that Manning is not a stat-monger.

In 2004, the Colts were accused of running up the score in several games.
Week 9 Houston 49-14. Manning threw 2 3rd Qtr TD's but the score didn't get out of hand when the D scored 2 late TD's. 4th Qtr TD passes = ZERO.

Week 10 Chicago 41-10. 5 TD passes in 3 quarters. Manning did not even play a single down in the 4th Qtr. Jim Sorgi (the regular season's version of Mr. Irrelevant) entered the game but did not attempt a pass.

Week 11 Detroit 41-9. 6 TD passes in 3 quarters. Again, Manning sat out the 4th Qtr. Sorgi entered & went 1 for 3 for 7 yards.

Week 14 Baltimore 20-10. Not a blowout but possibly the greatest piece of evidence proving that Manning & the Colts are NOT interested in running up the score & padding Peyton's stats. Jsut like last night, Cato June intercepted a pass & was headed for the endzone (deja vu) before stepping out at the 4 yard line. 1st & goal Colts at the 4 with 0:59 to play. At that moment, Manning had thrown for 47 TD passes & the fired-up Sunday night home crowd roared when they realized that they had a chance to see #48. Instead, Manning took a knee TWICE (more deja vu) & ran out the clock. Colts fans boo'd. (I was there. I did not boo.)Not sure if the Ravens were out of timeouts or if Billick realized the score would soon be 27-10 if he did stop the clock.

Here's a blurb from the ESPN recap of that game.
But after kneeling twice in the final minute to run out the clock and passing up a chance at tying Marino's record, the Colts' franchise player drew an unexpected reaction from the crowd -- boos.

"I can't get over the crowd booing like that," said Manning, last season's league co-MVP. "I hope those were Baltimore fans, because that's what you're supposed to do."
Peyton is absolutely right & the fans should not have been booing.

Last night, the Colts again did what they were supposed to do but Billick's ego wouldn't let him do the right thing.

Although I hate to admit it, I wished for 2 things to happen after those stupid timeouts-- 1) Manning to Harrison TD to make it 31-0 & 2) a nasty hit on #2 Ravens QB Anthony Wright to put him on the injured list for a few weeks. I'd love to see Billick try to win games without his top 2 QB's due to his arrogance.

by Goldbach (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 2:12pm

Re: #7
It was a 3 possession game (24 points), and it is conceivably possible, however unlikely, that the Colts could forget how to tackle and the Ravens could get two quick TD's and recover two onside kicks. There's probably a better chance of my finding a winning lottery ticket on the sidewalk, but it's not impossible.

Re: #19
See my above comments. It's unlikely to be necessary, but worth the effort IMO.

by DaveO (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 2:27pm

I think that the colts have every right to be pissed. Kneeling at the end of a butt-whippin' is supposed to be a display of good sportsmanship, right? Calling a TO after that is IMO a pretty clear message - "Take your sportsmanship and shove it up your ..."

by RichC (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 2:41pm

Re: #23

Partially disagree. The routed team to break the shutout is hardly rare.

by Todd S. (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 2:42pm

Re: #4

That was my first thought, too-and I'm a Colts fan!

by RichC (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 2:43pm

Make that "the routed team trying to break the shutout"...

by Ryan (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 3:04pm

The probability that the Ravens were going to score 24 points in under 2 minutes was very miniscule. However, I think Billick had to try to make something happen.
Two years ago, I think we all would have agreed that no team could possibly come back from 3 scores down with under 3 minutes to play. But you have to remember, the Colts did it on the road on a Monday night game against what was considered to be a top-tier Buccaneer defense. Clearly, it was extremely unlikely, but you cannot fault the coach for trying to score points.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 3:09pm

Dexter Reid will help the Colts improve on special teams. He is 2nd or 3rd string behind Sanders, Doss, & Jefferson at safety.

On special teams, possibly. But he's a liability at safety. When he came into the Super Bowl, the Eagles simply targeted whoever he was lined up against, and had a field day. He was cut from the Patriots for a reason.

Of course, the problem is that the Colts were never bad on special teams coverage. They've just been bad on kickoffs. They may have finally found a kicker, though - Rayner was averaging mid-to-high 60s, which is great - now they just need to fire Mike Vanderjagt to have him stop taking up a roster spot.

by DaveO (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 3:19pm

Re: #24

Is it common *after* the other team takes a knee, though? I dunno, to me it seems kind of like slapping away a handshake...

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 3:36pm

Pat (#29 )--

I don't know if Reid's a liability at safety -- you don't want him doing too much coverage, but he does tackle reasonably well after his man catches the ball. (Unless it's in the end zone.) And he's fine when you're playing your 0-2-9 to hold a late lead. ;-)

Aside: does anyone else here remember the end of last year's Patriots-Bengals game, with Kitna heaving the Hail Mary at the end? I distinctly remember Christian Fauria back in coverage for that play, and him being close to where the actual pass was knocked down.

by markb (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 3:53pm

Tell me again how many of last year's Colts touchdowns came from withing the five yard line. With Edge available to run it it.

Naw... Payton Munster doesn't care about stats.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 4:09pm

Is it common *after* the other team takes a knee, though? I dunno, to me it seems kind of like slapping away a handshake…

I don't see taking a knee as a handshake when the other team's got timeouts. I see it more like a chess player asking the other player if they would like to resign. There should be no dishonor in saying "no", which is what the Ravens did.

by B (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 4:20pm

Tell me again how many of last year’s Colts touchdowns came from withing the five yard line. With Edge available to run it it.
In 2004, Manning had 19 TDs from 10 yards or less. Let's compare him to the "ultimate team player" Brady: 16.
What about Culpepper? 21, and McNabb: 10.

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 4:21pm

FWIW, in 1979, Chicago edged out Washington for the final playoff spot based on a four-point difference in overall points (+57 vs. +53 in all games). I believe at the time that the tiebreaking system included best net points in conference games prior to that step.

I believe that's the only time a team has missed the playoffs based on net points. There have been a few times when the division winner or the wild-card order came down to net points within the division.

I think it's odd for Billick to force the Colts, of all teams, to run plays at the end of the game, and it certainly would have backfired if the Colts had connected on the pass at the end of the series. Still, it worked ...

by Drew (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 4:29pm

I don't have a problem with the Ravens refusing to accept a kneeldown to end the game. It seems foolish to me, but hey, I'm just some schmoe.

It kind of reminds me of Khan setting off the Genesis device at the end of Star Trek II. Oh wait, maybe I should save that for the TMQ thread.

by Marc (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 4:50pm

This is a very stupid thing to get worked up about. It didn't violate any rules, and complaining about a team trying to score in a football game is moronic anyway.

by Geoff C (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 4:54pm

Seriously though, everyone who's so upset about the ravens calling the TOs and scoring that final TD has the colts D on their fantasy team right? Cause I'm playing against them and that's the only reason I care either way.

by Athelas (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 5:32pm

Not 10 yds or less; 5 yds or less.

Big difference.

by TMK (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 5:45pm

Seeing TMQ mentioned up above:

How many words over/under before he mentions Buffalo's color scheme yesterday? I'm guessing it will be in no later than the second section of the article -- GE can't resist the opportunity to drag out the Russian Dreadnaught line and bore us all again with his obscure references to the Battle of Tsushima.

by DaveO (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 5:59pm


Not really, not when you consider how lousy the Colts were in 2004 at rushing in short yardage situations.. Edgerrin is a great back, but he's not exactly known for moving the pile. No one who actually watched the Colts last year would think that they had a better chance at scoring by rushing (it's not like they didn't try)...

by B (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 6:11pm

Yea, just look at what happened to the Colts in '03 when they gave Edge the ball on 4th and goal at the 1 against the Pats.

by MDS (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 6:16pm

Comment No. 31 is just the kind of stuff I love. We're in a thread about how Peyton Manning wanted to take a knee and end the game, but the opponents decided to prolong the game. And yet someone decides that it's evidence that Manning tries to pad his stats.

by ChicagoScott (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 6:21pm

Edge actually ran the ball on 1st, 2nd, & 4th down in that failed drive.

They got stuffed on 4th & 1 & 3rd & 1 last night. The ESPN announcers were right on-- the Colts offensive line is not built for smash-mouth, short-yardage plays.
Last night was a perfect example, here was the Colts success while running the ball in short yardage situations.
4th & 1 - no gain FAIL
2nd & goal at 2 - no gain FAIL
2nd & 1 - +6 SUCCEED
2nd & 1 - no gain FAIL
3rd & 1 - no gain FAIL

They succeeded in picking up positive yardage just 1 out of 5 times last night. Trust me, I love smash-mouth football more than anybody. But after watching the Colts for many years, I can tell you that they throw the ball near the goalline OUT OF NECESSITY, not just to pile up the stats.

by ChicagoScott (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 6:33pm

You're right, MDS. After the game ended, I logged on to a couple message boards & Manning was already being labeled as "classless" & "cares about stats, not wins".

For the Manning-haters out there, they are blind to the fact that he knelt down twice or that Dungy told him to throw the ball or that he knelt down twice in last year's game vs Balt when they had the ball on the Ravens 4.

If Peyton said that he liked cake with white frosting, the haters would call him racist.

by TMK (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 6:42pm

Oh, I dislike Peyton's little snit fits as much as anyone, but I don't buy the stat padding argument. He's classless for a lot more reasons than that.

What was classless last night was his tantrum when the Ravens decided to KEEP PLAYING FOOTBALL. Don't they know they're supposed to roll over and go home when Golden Boy says it's time to go home?

by B (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 6:48pm

When Tom Brady takes a knee, the other team knows it's time to give it up. Also, when the Patriots D is pitching a shutout, they don't blow it in the last 1:35.

by ChicagoScott (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 7:26pm

Billick's little games pissed off EVERYONE on the Colts sideline, not just Manning. But I have to clarify one other point-- the Ravens didn't decide to KEEP playing football with 2 minutes to go, they finally decided to START playing football with 2 minutes to go.

Maybe the Colts will learn a valuable lesson from this. Whether teams win or lose vs the Colts, Billick's timeouts & Ray Lewis' snub after the game showed they have no respect for the Colts. Everyone thinks they are soft, they only care about stats, they cannot win the big game, etc.

It's time for the Colts to get a huge chip on their shoulder & go out there with the attitude that they will beat every team by 50 points. Since everyone seems to believe that the Colts run up the score, they might as well start actually doing it.

by TMK (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 11:50pm

No point in trying to argue with a Colt fan -- if Peyton's attitude of entitlement extends to the entire team, they already have a chip on their shoulder.

But you might notice I specifically rejected the "run up the score / pad the stats" argument. It's one thing to lose to the jerk, but he's not due anything he wants just because his team won a hard-fought game. And anyone who watched the game knows how even it was.

Will Peyton get upset if Jacksonville tries to beat him again, too? Don't they read the press clippings?

by ChicagoScott (not verified) :: Tue, 09/13/2005 - 3:22pm

Did you actually READ the article? Here's a portion of it.
Manning initially declined to comment about the decision to air out one last long pass with the game on ice, but eventually would all but admit it was a shot across the bow.

"We were just trying to take a knee and keep everybody healthy," he said. "The game was basically over. After they called two timeouts, I asked Tony, 'What do you want to do?' He said, 'Throw it,' and I said, 'OK, I'll throw it.'
Give me a break.

I suppose you find it classless that the Manning family only purchased & personally delivered ONE planeload of supplies down south? What a jerk!

by MDS (not verified) :: Tue, 09/13/2005 - 3:28pm

You know, the bottom line is anyone who reads this and reacts with negative comments about Manning is saying a lot more about himself than he is about Manning.

by Drew (not verified) :: Tue, 09/13/2005 - 3:34pm

MDS has summed up the situation perfectly.

by ChicagoScott (not verified) :: Tue, 09/13/2005 - 4:32pm

Thank you MDS for being the calm, cool, rational thinker around here.

by Sid (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 7:49pm

The Ravens were trying to avoid being shut out at home, and also wanted to get Wright some reps. I have no problem with it.

The Colts just like to whine.

by bobman (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 8:13pm

Re #53, you and I can say that NOW (after Billick called Dungy the next day to explain) but in the heat of the moment, this Colts fan initially asked out loud why Manning was doing such an uuncharacteristically classless thing, then when I realized the reason, I thought the Ravens were turds. Now, with a few days hindsight, like you, I have no problem with it. If the coaches knew each other better (say Belichick and Crennel someday), they might have actually communicated this at the time. Either way, it was being treated like a preseason game by the Ravens (let's get some live-action work in for the second-stringer) and if an injury had occurred on either side, it would have been a shame and a real reason to get ticked-off. And no, I don't even do that in Madden, either. That was a great line.