Despite having all three timeouts, the Chargers called a timeout with just over 5 minutes left in overtime and their offense on the field. The reasoning behind it?
Competition Committee chairman Rich McKay was watching the game from a suite in Oakland Coliseum, and head coach Mike McCoy was told that he would be receiving a “15-yard penalty … and an ejection” if he didn’t call the timeout.
McKay told reporters after the game that it was a “judgment call,” one in which referee Bill Leavy determined McCoy would be better off using his timeouts than having to kick the ball back to Oakland (which, according to McKay, is exactly what would have happened had the Chargers not called timeout).
“They were out of timeouts, and I was worried about them using their last timeout if the clock went to zero,” Leavy said after the game. “So, I told him to take the timeout.”
McCoy claimed Monday that he never heard anything about an ejection, just that he had to call the timeout. If that’s the case, then why did he use his last timeout with 5:32 left in overtime? After all, it was almost four minutes later when Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski kicked a game-winning 41-yard field goal on the next play.
“We were just trying to get organized,” McCoy said. “It wasn’t anything.”
Still, McKay’s explanation of the sequence makes little sense considering that there were 1:06 and two timeouts left when the Chargers called their timeout. At that point, using one of those timeouts would have made more sense than calling a timeout and giving the Raiders a realistic chance at recovering an onside kick if needed.
McKay told reporters after the game that using a timeout rather than giving the Raiders a free kick was “a logical thing to do,” but wouldn’t expand much further when asked for specifics.
“It didn’t work out,” McKay added.
McCoy wasn’t interested in discussing the reasoning behind the timeout, saying that he “wasn’t going to get into all that.”
“We were trying to win,” McCoy said. “And we had an opportunity there at the end of the game with three timeouts and 1:45 left on the clock. We wanted to make sure we used our timeouts properly. Obviously, I wish I would have used one differently at the end of the game.”
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said that he had never been in that situation before, but added “there’s no doubt that if this comes up again … you think about using your last timeout there to save some time for yourself.”
“I don’t know what we would have done if we’d had 30 seconds left and they were out of timeouts,” Rivers said. “Who knows? But I think most quarterbacks, you’re just ready to go. We were just trying to win.”