Jeff Saturday defends clock management at end of Colts’ loss

INDIANAPOLIS — Colts interim coach Jeff Saturday defended his watch management in the closing minutes of Monday night’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, saying he decided against a timeout until 30 seconds remained because he “didn’t feel like time was really of is crucial at this moment.”

The Colts, seven behind, were in a bit of a frantic situation, sitting fourth and third at the two-minute warning from the Pittsburgh 37-yard line. After the conversion, Indianapolis quarterback Matt Ryan was released for a 7-yard loss on first down and then scrambled 14 yards on second down.

The second-down game was called off with 59 seconds remaining, but the Colts chose not to take a timeout despite owning all three of their timeouts. They instead went slow, snapping the ball late into the game clock and then handing the ball off to running back Jonathan Taylor, who was stopped on a third and 3 without a win. The Colts finally called for a timeout after the Taylor run, with 30 seconds to go.

With Saturday and playcaller Parks Frazier only playing their third game in their new roles, one could argue that the Colts would have benefited from a reset in that situation, but Saturday said staff had already dialed the run play and liked its odds of success.

“I thought we had a good game,” he said. “And I felt like we were going to make it. Obviously we haven’t done a great job [blocking] on the back, so it’s worse. But I felt good about the call beforehand. We felt like we had time, we would have time off after that. We were within striking distance. So I never felt the pressure of needing the time off.

“We just didn’t do it.”

Saturday seemed to indicate the Colts snatched the ball later than desired in the third game, saying, “I would have liked that [Ryan] to snap it a little earlier? Secure. But even here I never felt under time pressure.”

It’s unclear if there was a misunderstanding between the staff and Ryan.

On the fourth down, the Colts attempted a shot at a well-marked Parris Campbell, which was incomplete. The Steelers took the downs and ran out the clock to retain a 24-17 win.

The Colts (4-7-1) are 1-2 since Saturday took the helm after Frank Reich’s firing last month. Jeff Saturday defends clock management at end of Colts’ loss

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