The Redskins opted not to call a timeout. Seventeen seconds later they snapped the ball again, leaving themselves time for only three more plays. They saved two timeouts, but it turns out the clock stopped after incomplete passes on the first two plays.
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan defended not taking a time out after Reed’s catch.
“We do have three opportunities to go for the end zone,” Shanahan said. “That’s what we’re looking for, trying to get points, possibly a touchdown and a minimum of a field goal.”
Shanahan correctly let the clock run down before Reed’s catch, which occurred on a third and 7. Had they not converted, it would have left Dallas with a lot less time to maneuver down the field. But they did lose an opportunity for more plays later in the drive.
Also, the Redskins did not go to a no-huddle or hurry-up attack in the fourth quarter trailing by two touchdowns. But that’s not always Shanahan’s desired way to attack in those situations.
The Redskins drove from their own 14 with 8:44 left to the Cowboys’ 23-yard line with 5:16 remaining. Quarterback Robert Griffin III’s pass in the end zone was intercepted, partly because the receiver, Santana Moss, slipped and fell on the play.
“What you do is kind of speed up,” Shanahan said. “You want to go in different formations. Usually when you go with a no-huddle, usually it’s pretty base formations. You don’t have as much formation variations. We thought it was very important that with seven minutes left we score that touchdown and we thought we could do so better by changing formations.
“Now, if we score that, the way we were playing defense, we felt we could get the ball back with two minutes left or two-and-a-half minutes. So we felt pretty good about our chances of at least tying the game.”