JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars have gotten plays off as the play clock expired numerous times, which is why coach Gus Bradley didn’t call a timeout before a critical fourth down late in their loss against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
Looking back on it Monday morning, Bradley wishes he had, because maybe the Jaguars would have been able to continue that drive and tie the game to force overtime. Instead, the Jaguars didn’t snap the ball in time and failed to convert the first down after the five-yard penalty.
"We had two timeouts [remaining] at that time," Bradley said. "It doesn’t matter how many timeouts you have, in a critical situation like that, to keep it the down and distance where it’s manageable would have been great, looking back at it.
"So I take full responsibility for that."
Trailing 28-21, the Jaguars drove from their own 27 to the Buffalo 40-yard line with 3:38 to play. Quarterback Blake Bortles tried to hit receiver Allen Robinson with a back-shoulder throw on third-and-4, but the attempt failed because it appeared Robinson had his arm pinned and couldn’t twist his body to make the catch.
Bortles and the Jaguars coaches were furious that a pass interference penalty wasn’t called and complained to the officials, which may have delayed the process of the playcall getting to Bortles for fourth down.
By the time the offense got to the line of scrimmage, there were approximately 10 seconds remaining on the play clock. Bortles looked over the defense, checked to a different play, signaled the new play to the receivers and lifted his leg to signal he was ready for the snap, but by that time the clock had nearly expired and there wasn’t enough time for center Brandon Linder to send the shotgun snap back to Bortles before time expired.
"They came up and it looked like it was going to be a cover-0 blitz," Bradley said. "He came up, he checked it, he made a signal to the outside, came back, looked up at the clock, put his head down, [asked for] the snap with about three seconds left. There were a couple other times [earlier in the game] where it got right before zero and he snapped it, and I felt like that was going to happen.
"But looking back at it, yeah, I take responsibility for that. Should have called a timeout."
The five-yard penalty made it fourth-and-9, and Bortles ended up completing a crossing pass to receiver Marqise Lee for a four-yard gain. Bortles didn’t have much of a choice but to make that throw because Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams had beaten left guard Chris Reed and Bortles had to drift back in the pocket.
That was the second time a timeout decision cost the Jaguars points. Bradley did call timeout with a minute remaining in the first half with the Bills facing fourth-and-1 at the Jaguars’ 13-yard line. The Bills had run out field-goal kicker Dan Carpenter and were apparently content to go into halftime trailing 7-3, but coach Rex Ryan changed his mind during the timeout.