Colts' Jeff Saturday, Matt Ryan explain questionable clock management in final minutes of loss to Steelers

There were a number of elements that played into the Steelers’ 24-17 win over the Colts on Monday night. Indianapolis’ bad clock management on the video game’s last drive was definitely among them. 

With 3:52 to go, the Colts moved from their own seven-yard-line to the Steelers’ 37-yard-line by the two-minute caution. Still equipped with all of their timeouts, the Colts got an initially down when Matt Ryan hit Michael Pittman for a four-yard gain on the very first play after the two-minute caution.

Ryan was sacked on the next play by Alex Highsmith however decreased to utilize a timeout, which led to 36 seconds coming off the clock. The Colts decreased to call a timeout once again after Ryan ran for 14 backyards on the next play, leading to 29 extra seconds coming off the clock prior to Indianapolis took its next breeze.

With 30 seconds left, the Colts lastly called a timeout after Jonathan Taylor was picked up no gain on 3rd down. The Colts strolled off the field with 2 unused timeouts after Ryan’s fourth-down toss to Parris Campbell was separated by Minkah Fitzpatrick, protecting the Steelers’ win. 

“I thought we had plenty of time,” Colts interim head coach Jeff Saturday stated of the Colts not calling a timeout following Ryan’s run. “We still had timeouts. I wasn’t really concerned. When he was going down, I couldn’t tell where they were going to [mark] Ryan from going down. … I expected us to get on the ball and have another play a little bit quicker than that. 

“This wasn’t a press for time. We simply didn’t make adequate plays.” 

Like Saturday, Ryan believed that the area of the ball following his run played a consider the Colts’ clock mismanagement. The veteran quarterback believed his run warranted a measurement. 

Had the authorities provided Ryan an initially down, he would have had those timeouts in his back pocket with 4 downs to deal with. Unfortunately for him and the Colts, it didn’t exercise that method, as the authorities figured out that he moved a number of backyards except the sticks. 

“I thought I was maybe a little bit closer than where they spotted it,” Ryan stated, “but that’s neither here nor there. … I don’t mind the call.”

The Colts had actually rallied back from a 16-3 deficit to take a 17-16 lead going into the 4th quarter. But comparable to last Sunday’s loss to Philadelphia, the Colts were not able to keep their lead in the 4th quarter. Pittsburgh, regardless of losing running back Najee Harris in the very first half to an injury, took the lead for excellent on backup running back Benny Snell’s two-yard goal run. The Steelers got an inspired effort from novice quarterback Kenny Pickett, who got his very first roadway triumph. 

While it was a big win for Pickett and the Steelers, It was another hard loss for the Colts, who dropped to 4-7-1 and 1-2 because Saturday took control of as interim head coach. 

“It’s disappointing,” Ryan stated. “It really is. I think the effort is good, but our execution hasn’t been good enough.” 

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