JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It was a moment that got lost in the improbable and chaotic events of the final two minutes of regulation, but it was vital to the Jacksonville Jaguars’ overtime victory over the Los Angeles Chargers.
It happened during the Jaguars’ final drive in regulation, which was capped by Josh Lambo’s 34-yard game-tying field goal with three seconds remaining. Wide receiver Allen Hurns caught a 6-yard pass and suffered a right leg injury on the play, but instead of staying down on the field, he crawled to the Jaguars’ sideline on all fours.
Hurns saved the Jaguars a 10-second clock runoff because they were out of timeouts. It was a heads-up and unselfish move and not a surprise to any of Hurns’ teammates or coaches.
“I think it speaks to not only his toughness but how smart of a football player he is,” quarterback Blake Bortles said. “He was able to recognize the situation that we were in. Knowing that we had no timeouts, I think, at the moment, and he had to get off the field.
“I think Hurns’ toughness and football IQ never ceases to amaze me.”
The NFL’s 10-second runoff rule is in place to keep teams from getting an unfair late advantage. If a player is injured and stays down on the field in the last minute of the half, his team will be charged one of its timeouts. If the team no longer has any timeouts remaining, the opponent has the option to have 10 seconds taken off the clock.
There were 50 seconds remaining in regulation after Hurns caught the short pass from Bortles on second-and-10 from the Jaguars’ 48-yard line. Had he not gotten off the field, the Jaguars would have been left with 40 seconds.
That may still have been enough time to get Lambo in position for a game-tying field goal attempt, but the Jaguars may have not gotten to the Chargers’ 16-yard line, and it may have been a longer attempt.
Hurns, who left the game on crutches and was unable to put any weight on his right leg, doesn’t feel he did anything special when he crawled off the field.
“It’s just one of those plays,” said Hurns, who caught a team-high seven passes for 70 yards before his injury. “Under two minutes, you can’t stay on the field [when injured] because they have to take a timeout for you, or have like a -second runoff. That’s one of those plays where you just have to hop off the field. It was close to our sideline. I was able to get off. But, it just shows how we are as a team.”
Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said he doesn’t like the rule because it doesn’t take player safety into consideration.
“That’s a rule that I get concerned about. I really do,” Marrone said. “I struggle with that rule. That’s something that I probably, when I get with Coach [Tom] Coughlin and [GM] Dave Caldwell, we have to look at because you tell a player if you can, get off the field, get off the field to save it [at timeout or 10-second runoff]. Again, someone like Allen, you don’t want to put a player in further jeopardy from an injury standpoint. I think it’s one of those things that we’ve hurt ourselves somewhere down the line, coaches try to use those rules in our favor and it’s something that is a difficult situation. I just want to say if Allen was extremely hurt and could have hurt himself any more, I’d take the time out. I would.
“This game is hard enough to play as it is, but I appreciate him having the ability to do that. It did help the football team.”
Marrone didn’t have a timeout available, though, which would have mean the 10-second runoff. That’s why Hurns’ actions were so critical to the Jaguars’ eventual victory.