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Todd Bowles Questionable Time Management Decision Potentially Costs Buccaneers The Game In Houston

Rich Barnes. Getty Images.

The Buccaneers offense hasn't been great this season, but today they delivered to the tune of 37 points. With a Defensive-minded head Coach going against a rookie Quarterback, that should've been good enough. But it wasn't and one thing stood out to me as a big reason why - time management. 

Here's the situation: with 53 seconds to go on 2nd & 3 at the Texans 29 yard line, Baker Mayfield ripped a pass to rookie WR Trey Palmer who caught the ball over the middle, but got the ball punched out. The ball bounced around and Mike Evans dove on it at around the 10 yard line. 

Watching it in real time was a true rollercoaster.

The Bucs hurried to the line but the refs elected to view a replay to decide A) if it was a fumble B) to spot the ball correctly. In real time, this took about two minutes. The Bucs had one final timeout left and were down by three points. A timeout they could need if they were to get sacked or run the ball and needed to get their Field Goal unit on. But the real goal at this point, would be to not give the ball back to the Texans with much time left.

Todd Bowles elected to use his final timeout and stop the clock at 49 seconds left at the 14 yard line. I discussed with my gambling cave neighbor for the day, Frank the Tank and we both agreed it was a bad timeout. Again, you want to give the ball back to Houston with AS LITTLE TIME AS POSSIBLE, no matter what the outcome, touchdown or field goal.

*I should note, had the game gone to overtime, it would've been fairly advantageous for the Bucs as the Texans were down a kicker. Ka'imi Farbarn was out for he game with a quad injury he suffered mid-game, so backup RB Dare Ogunbawale was being used as their kicker. 

The first play out of the timeout, the Bucs take a shot to the end zone and score. This is great news! A touchdown you'll take! 

But there are now 45 seconds left and the Texans have two timeouts.

Had Bowles not taken the timeout, the clock would've wound on the Ref's signal so likely we're looking at 11-14 seconds taken off the clock. I hated the decision in real time, but I'm always optimistic.


The Texans proceeded to march down the field on Defensive-minded Head Coach Todd Bowles' team and score a game-winning touchdown. The worst part about it? That TD pass happens with 10 seconds left. 

Had Bowles elected to not take that timeout, 10 seconds run off and the ball is spotted with a running clock. So AT MINIMUM we're looking at 11 seconds off the clock, meaning this play never happens.

This was a horrific way to lose the game and Buccaneers fans deserve better. I want to like Todd Bowles. A Defensive-minded HC from the same county as where I grew up. He didn't get a very fair shake with the Jets and drew up a gameplan that took down Patrick Mahomes in the Super Bowl. As a Head Coach last year, he didn't get a very fair shake after being named HC in March after Bruce Arians stepped down following the news that Tom Brady would return. 

But this year was a clean slate. It's his team. But time after time we're seeing the wrong decisions in clock and game management. Those decisions directly cost the Buccaneers the game today. I look around the NFL and I see Defensive-minded Head Coaches like Robert Saleh embarrassing elite Quarterbacks. Instead, we are giving up Rookie passing records to opposing signal callers. This isn't right. Something needs to change.