Brandon Staley found his Los Angeles Chargers in an unprecedented situation on Sunday night. The entire nation (particularly Pittsburgh Steelers fans) looked on as the clock ticked towards zero in overtime between the Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders. A tie meant both L.A. and the Raiders would qualify for the NFL playoffs while eliminating unlikely contender Pittsburgh.
The Raiders appeared to be content to burn out the clock and play for a tie. With under a minute left and the clock running with Vegas facing a third down and a very long field goal attempt that may have been too risky to try if they didn’t convert, Staley inexplicably called a time out. The Raiders picked up the first down and kicked the game winning field goal as time expired to send themselves and the Steelers to the postseason.
According to Pro Football Talk, Staley claimed they had the wrong personnel package on the field. The timeout was meant to run in a substitution. Even if the Chargers got the ball back, their chances of scoring were unlikely. A tie was the best scenario for Los Angeles at that point.
“We needed to get in the right grouping. We felt like they were going to run the ball, so we wanted to get our best 11 personnel run defense in, make that substitution so we could get a play where we would deepen the field goal.”
If Brandon Staley had not called time out, the Raiders were likely to have let time run out. They would’ve been happy to make the playoffs and avoid a disaster. Steeler Nation is thankful for the gaffe.
The Raiders will take on the AFC North champion Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card round on Sunday, January 15th. A season filled with turmoil has resulted in the team miraculously having a shot to win a Super Bowl. Brandon Staley will have a long offseason to think about the time out call and what might have been.
What do you think of Brandon Staley’s unfortunate time out? Let us know in the comments!