Late in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game, the Redskins trailed the Dolphins by a touchdown as Jay Gruden discussed his options on sideline. At that point, Gruden decided he would not use a timeout before the two minute warning, and when that opportunity came with 2:11 left on the clock, the Washington coach stuck with his plan.
"It’s easy," Gruden said of his decision. "I let it go down to two-minute. I saved myself two timeouts in case they decided to throw it on third down."
Miami would go on to pick up a first down, effectively ending the game and making the wasted time prior to the two minute warning irrelevant. But the situation, and Gruden's explanation, merit further discussion.
Gruden's plan seemed contingent on the Dolphins throwing a pass, a significant risk for a team that had more than 70 yards rushing in the second half. Further, his team trailed by a full TD, leading to an easy suggestion that the Redskins do everything possible to save as much time as they could.
"An incompletion would give me a free timeout, otherwise I would lose like five seconds maybe," Gruden said. "So, that’s why.”
At times last season, Gruden made questionable late-game decisions with timeouts. In Sunday's loss to Miami, again Gruden's late moves can be questioned, but the coach seems steadfast in his logic not calling the timeout. Another decision prior to the timeout also could be questioned, when the team decided to go for it on fourth down rather than kicking a field goal with less than three minutes to play. Washington trailed by a TD when a drive stalled inside the Dolphins 30-yard-line. Instead of taking the points and lengthening the game, Gruden went for it on 4th down, and the 'Skins turned it over on downs. With or without the field goal, Washington would have needed a TD, but the plan still seemed to have some holes.
"It was a great play by their defense," Gruden said of the failed 4th down conversion late against the Dolphins.
It's only Week 1, but plenty of questions emerged late in a tough loss to Miami. Did Gruden make the right calls? Let us know what you think in the comments.