With 1:51 left in the Sunday loss to the Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed a short pass to running back Le’Veon Bell, who went out of bounds for a seven yard gain. With the game clock stopped at 1:43, Roethlisberger lobbied for a horse-collar penalty, but in doing so, he lost precious time on the play clock that had already been reset. As a result, Roethlisberger was forced to take a much needed timeout prior to the second down and three play from the Raiders 12 yard-line. It wound up being a costly timeout and the quarterback talked about it after the game.
“The play clock was running down,” Roethlisberger said. “I ran over there because the ref was grabbing for his flag for a horse-collar call on Le’Veon [Bell], and then he didn’t (make the call). The ref asked (another official), ‘Was there a horse collar?’ They were kind of discussing it, and I guess they decided not to call it. By the time we got back to the huddle, you look up and there’s three seconds (on the play clock) by the time we break the huddle.”
Had Roethlisberger taken a delay of game penalty, the Steelers still would have had two downs to score from the 17 or get a first down, but he felt the five yards were more important than the timeout.
“You either take 5 yards (for delay of game) or you take the timeout,” Roethlisberger said. “I know timeouts are valuable but I thought 5 yards were, too, so I had to burn it.”
The offense did score three plays and 19 seconds later, but with only two timeouts left, the Raiders were able to run extra time off the game clock following their third down play after the onsides kick.
After the game, Roethlisberger said he and head coach Mike Tomlin would more than likely be discussing that time management situation this coming week.
“Maybe (today) Coach Tomlin will tell me what he wants me to do in that situation,” Roethlisberger said. “I know timeouts are valuable, but for an offense that wasn’t scoring touchdowns so are 5 yards.”
I am not sure what Tomlin will tell Roethlisberger, but I know I would tell him to let the officials do their job in situations such as that one. Burning that timeout really hurt.