He caught a lot of heat last year for not knowing how NFL ties work, though he's not the only one -- heck, even intelligent ex-quarterbacks-turned-announcers get it wrong from time to time. But Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb(notes) must carry the grief alone for his clock-butchering boo-boo in his team's 13-9 loss to the Oakland Raiders.
Down 10-3 with 27 seconds left in the first half, McNabb went to the line and called a timeout after deciding that he didn't like what he saw on the Raiders' side of the ball. Problem was, the Eagles had already used their customary three timeouts in the half, and no amount of bargaining could get them another one. Philly was busted for delay of game, the ball was pushed back from the Oakland 15 to the Oakland 20, McNabb took a Richard Seymour(notes) sack on the next play, and the Eagles had to settle for a field goal. Had the Eagles scored a touchdown and kicked the extra point in that drive, they would have had the points needed to tie the Raiders.
Of course, McNabb wasn't the only one at fault. He might have had a few other things going on, what with left tackle Jason Peters(notes) suffering a knee injury and giving way to King Dunlap(notes) (who???). And he might have expected that Andy Reid, his beloved head coach, would have left Mac5 a timeout late in the half instead of calling two on the previous drive -- both after incomplete passes (which kill the clock, anyway). Of course, when it comes to clock management, Reid won't make anyone's top ten list.
Whatever bedeviled McNabb on that particular occasion, he'd best get over it -- Peters is scheduled for an MRI today, and Reid isn't going to get any more prudent with the clock. The Eagles have an extra day this week before they face the Redskins on Monday Night Football, and they certainly don't want to be the team with the least amount of preparation and awareness in THAT particular matchup. After all, the Redskins have their own history with timeouts.