I am a stickler for clock management. It is something that really annoys me most about coaches.
Why can't they get it right?
We saw Cowboys coach Jason Garrett botch the end of the Cowboys-Cardinals game. Garrett's Cowboys had a first down at the Arizona 31 with 21 seconds left and two timeouts. Garrett opted to let the clock run down, rather than trying to get the ball closer, and settled for a 49-yard attempt.
Get 5 or 10 more yards, call time out, and then go from there. That's not playing to win,
Instead, he called time out and then as his field-goal team was readying to kick, with kicker Dan Bailey actually making the kick, he called time out again, seemingly icing his own kicker.
Garrett said he called the timeout because the play-clock was winding down. That I can understand.
What I can't understand is not trying to get more yards with two timeouts to make the kick easier. Last time I checked, a 49-yard field goal isn't a chip shot.
---I was saddened this weekend to hear about the death of Buffalo News sportswriter Allen Wilson. He was the gentle giant, a big man with a kind heart. We spent time out on the road together, and Wilson was always one of those guys who put up with my stupid sense of humor. He was a bear of a man who loved to laugh. I knew he was battling leukemia and exchanged e-mails with him last month, but he lost his battle Saturday night. I will remember eating pizza in the snow late night with him in Philadelphia after hitting the town one night. I will remember taking full advantage of the bar at a suite at a Houston Rockets game with Allen and my wife and the good time we had. He didn't say a lot, but he sure could laugh. Allen Wilson, you will be missed.
---Did you ever notice how Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees always seem to know exactly when the pocket is breaking down and where they need to go with their throws when it does? That's what makes them so great. They have a feel for where everybody is on the field. I've watched them both live the past two weeks and studied their tapes. That's a special way to play quarterback. They are two greats in two great passing offenses.
---Ray Rice with 29 carries for 204 yards against the Browns is something the Ravens have to love to see. Remember all the bitching when they lost to the Jaguars on Monday night that Rice wasn't getting the football enough? One thing the Ravens did in their losses was get away from Rice. They can't do that and have success in the playoffs.
---I mentioned Ravens rookie defensive end Pernell McPhee as a guy to watch a couple of weeks ago. The front office loves him. Now we're seeing why. He had two sacks against the Browns Sunday. He is a young, explosive player to watch in the final month.
---Raiders defensive tackle Richard Seymour got ejected from the Raiders-Dolphins game for throwing a punch at Dolphins guard Richie Incognito. That was really dumb. But the reason I like Seymour is that he is always one to stand up for his mistakes. Most players would shy away from talking with the media after that incident, but Seymour was at his locker and apologized for his stupidity. Seymour has always been a class act with the media in my eyes.
---Bears running back Matt Forte had to see his potential millions going bad when he suffered a knee injury against the Chiefs. It looked bad. As it is, Forte only has an MCL injury and not an ACL. The latter could have prevented him from getting a long-term deal. As it is, he will miss 2-4 weeks. That's a big difference. But if I were Forte, I'd get a deal signed soon. That’s why you take a good deal when you can. Don't hold out for the great one. Most of the time, you never see that money anyway. Get a nice deal with good up-front money and go from there. One other thing: The scare is always why it's so tough to pay backs. The life expectancy is so short.
---For those talking about the Jaguars moving to Los Angeles, I hear there are provision in the sale contract that state that new owner Shahid Kahn will have to pay penalties in the first three years he owns the team if he wants to move it. Severe penalties. I also hear there are penalties in year four and five. Combine that with a tight lease agreement that will be tough to break, and you can pretty much count on the Jaguars being in Jacksonville for at least five years. After that, all bets are off.
---It's looking more and more like Raheem Morris is in trouble in Tampa. The Bucs have lost six consecutive games, and they look worse than they have in a long time. I know they played with a backup at quarterback in losing to the Panthers, but it's more than that. The Bucs have taken a major regress this season. They expected some, but not this much. That could cost Morris his job.