Todd Bowles And Clock Management

November 7th, 2023

Wanted time, not a timeout.

Maybe it is just Joe, but the blowback Bucs coach Todd Bowles is getting after saving 10 seconds of clock on Tampa Bay’s final drive Sunday is over the top.

Mike Evans recovered a Trey Palmer fumble after Palmer caught a pass from Baker Mayfield. The refs reviewed the play to confirm Palmer indeed caught the ball.

So rather than have 10 seconds burned off the clock due to the review, Bowles elected to spend his final timeout.

Of course, the Bucs scored and Houston rallied right back for a game-winning touchdown.

The argument against Bowles not choosing to lose 10 seconds is that if he did, Houston would not have had a chance to score as there would not have been enough time.

However, that assumes two things: The Bucs wouldn’t have found a way to eff things up and that indeed the Bucs would have scored a touchdown.

Raise your hand if you expected the Bucs to screw something up at that point with the ball. “This Joe” sure did. You know, like someone not getting out of bounds or Bucs offensive coordinator Dave Canales calling a run play.

Even though the offense had its best day of the season, the offense wasn’t remotely running smoothly.

By losing the timeout but keeping 10 seconds on the clock, it gave the Bucs more of a buffer in case something went wrong. That’s the way Joe looked at it and that’s the way Bowles said he was thinking.

“We wanted the time, not knowing if we going to score,” Bowles said. “We have more time if the ball was thrown out of bounds to line up and run another play.”

Again, arguing to run off the 10 seconds assumes everything would have gone right at that moment. The Bucs offense isn’t playing at that level that you can expect everything to go right.

You expect good teams to be able to handle that situation smoothly. The Bucs are not a good team.

Joe lives in the real world where the Bucs struggle to gain two yards on the ground or to get the ball to one of the two better receivers in the game, Chris Godwin or Evans.

The fact Houston had enough time to win the game was a complete and total fluke if you look at NFL history.

Ragging on Bowles for not eating 10 seconds seems unfair, unrealistic and frankly a case of rear-view mirror logic.

*Disclaimer. This is not a unanimous opinion at world headquarters. 

68 Responses to “Todd Bowles And Clock Management”

  1. Hunter Says:

    Agreed. Lots of things to hate on. This one is dumb. Although I know I’m in the majority of people who def thought we scored way too early considering we were playing with 5 defenders. That’s all we had out there right, 5 guys?!

  2. Jack Sparrow Says:

    Bottom line: BUCS is a lousy team with an incompetent coaches.

  3. Joe Says:

    Agreed. Lots of things to hate on.

    Yes. There are all kinds of things to blame Bowles for. This ain’t one of them.

  4. Boss Says:

    aint mad at him for this. but cover 2 when you know they are going deep?

    and he is a defensive guru?

    any 7 year old on madden knows better.

  5. Canadian Bucs Fan Says:

    Not calling timeouts before half time was a questionable decision. Bowels is playing not to lose instead of playing to win.

  6. Mike S Says:

    Yeah I’m more concerned about the team quitting on him.

  7. Mike Says:

    Umm no Joe – what you are saying is silly. You play to win…not to lose. Period. #firebowles.

  8. Bucs since 76 Says:

    Everybody seems to forget if the Bucs would have taken the 10 second run off they would still have a time out to stop the clock if something went wrong. Also, it would have taken 10 seconds to clock the ball anyway. It was another one of Bowles stupid decisions.

  9. ModHairKen Says:

    It was appalling. Everyone watching knew to let the ten seconds run off.

    Just goes to show the lack of preparation.

    Of course, Davis then looked like he was running with thumbtacks in his shoes. Which almost covered for that retarded move by Bowles.

  10. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    I agree completely Jose. The defense was the problem, not the offense for once.

    On a side note, I do not like the 10 second runoff at all, not even for injuries. It just seems like a bastardization of the rules. Too much like metric kickball to have the refs decide how much time is on the clock.

  11. Licht House of Cards Says:

    Licht House of Cards has been exposed. I was fooled by the early results.

    Joe is taking his subtle shots at the roster and its spot on. Joe is not taking subtle shots. Joe certainly believes the roster is still good enough for 9 wins. Sunday’s loss is not on Licht. –Joe

    Look at our last 4 drafts, what impact players outside of Wirfs and Winfield are on this roster. The team was not built with an identity. The Brady/Bruce years were the outlier with veteran FAs brought in on Offense and on D with SUH. Also mix in JPP at the end of his career.

  12. ScottyMack Says:

    Sorry, but not only is that loser thinking, but it doesn’t even make sense. If, in your scenario, there was a stupid running play called and/or a player did not get out of bounds, the timeout is way more valuable than 10 seconds. The Bucs had the ball around the 10 yard line and in a worst case realistic scrnario, they would have kicked a field goal and taken their chances in overtime.

  13. Buc4evr Says:

    Todd Bowles is an embarrassment that never stops. The guy is just stupid and this game reinforces that fact. To be honest it is hard to watch the Bucs when they have a moron for a head coach that invariably will find a way to give the game away.

  14. realistic-optimistic Says:

    What about not using timouts at the end of the first half. Houston was at 3rd and 20 with 40 seconds on the clock. Bucs had 3 timeouts. Any sane HC calls one there and tries to secure a field goal before the half. Not Bowles…

  15. pewter941 Says:

    Darned if you do, darned if you dont. He probably wasnt used to the offense being able to score that quickly. And thought he would need all the time he saved.

  16. Irish Laughter Says:

    Joe, you’re knit picking to much. I guess that’s what keeps us coming back. Baker has found his groove and the offense sure looked the best that it has this season (so we’re ready to rock). The defense just got a wake up call. No more sleep walking through a game. Finally, the Bucs will finish at 10-7 and win the division and take a first round win. Bet on it. Keeping it real in Ireland.

  17. WyomingJoe Says:

    Totally agree with Joe on his take. You have to score first and you never know how much time it’s going to take. The D just didn’t do its job when it counted. But unlike many of the negative Trask fans, I still believe that this team can win the division. After all, who would believe that the Bills would have four losses at this point and SF would have three? The only people who are giving up on this team have never played any kind of ball at a high level. I feel sorry for you all.

  18. Licht House of Cards Says:

    Joe is taking his subtle shots at the roster and its spot on. Joe is not taking subtle shots. Joe certainly believes the roster is still good enough for 9 wins. Sunday’s loss is not on Licht. –Joe

    Thanks Joe for the clarification. Can you put up a confidence survey on the roster and team identity built by Licht?
    Joe always posts a Jason Licht confidence poll at midseason. Haven’t picked a date yet. –Joe
    Also in my last post, I did not include the 2023 class, it was 19-22.

  19. realistic-optimistic Says:

    WyomingJoe was never on this site until Mayfield joined the team. He still thinks Bowles can produce a winner despite an entire career that says otherwise. Clearly he has not been paying attention to this team long enough to accept reality.

    Bowles is absolute flaming trash. Mayfield is a good backup. Is he the main problem with this team? No. Is he elevating this team? No.

    When the team is spiraling, the coach is in over his head, and the QB is only middling, you make changes. You don’t accept a complete collapse.

  20. Colonel Angus Says:

    Seems to me, the way the defense was giving up the booty at that point, was to run as much time off as possible. We were already in close range for a game tying FG. Take the 10 seconds off, you still have a timeout and can run anything you want on that next play. Worse case run the clock down and tie the game.

  21. Rican Says:

    Fire Bowles.. give me Ben Johnson from DET, or Frank Smith from MIA.

  22. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    If the Texans can score from their 25 with 46 seconds with no timeouts….the Bucs should be able to score with a time out.

    You save the timeout if you need it… didn’t need the 10 seconds.

    Bowles has a history of poor time management decisions at the end of the half and end of games…….he is far too conservative.

    Example….>Cleveland last year.

  23. Couch Fan Says:

    Clock management is just another part of a HC’s job that Bowles is terrible at.

  24. Ultra ClodHopper Says:

    I wanted Bowles fired last year but this Joe is right. It was the right decision at the time with the info we had and complaining about it is hindsight 20/20 vision.

  25. DS Says:

    Still don’t understand all of the zone stuff and 4 man rush when we have zero edge rushers

  26. FortMyersDave Says:

    Fair point on Bowles and the timeout Joe, I also thought that the game was probably going to OT or the Bucs would somehow not get any points in the final minute. I think we can all agree that on Sunday that putrid soft zone defense which Bowels dialed up and the lackluster, lazy performance by all concerned on the defensive side of the ball is what needs to be exposed and those responsible be held accountable by immediate benching as well as a defensive playbook overhaul and at the end of the season the dreaded pink slip followed by a new regime who will simply cut out the deadwood on the roster and start the rebuild.

  27. OR Buc Says:

    The 10 second thing is dumb. What should be talked about is why Todd didn’t call a timeout with 50 seconds left in first half, after a 3rd down stop. Went into tunnel with 3 TOs. That’s BAD clock management.

  28. Mike C Says:

    Why not keep the time out in your pocket incase of a run play or someone doesn’t get to the sideline on a reception…. 30 seconds is a long time to work with when you have a time out that is….

  29. Mike C Says:

    And I was screaming at him when they did it, not 20/20 hindsight here.

  30. FortMyersDave Says:

    DS: yeah me too. I think Bowels has been trying to cover for his secondary by saying that if the pass rush was effective, Stroud would not have time to pick apart the secondary. Problem is that the pass rush was not there so why on Earth is Bowels still playing that soft D?

    This is not the chicken (secondary) or the egg (pass rush) when it comes to assigning blame, it comes down to stubbornness and an inability to adapt by the defensive coaches. It could be lack of talent but Bowles has not got to that excuse yet though he might be getting close as he called out Davis for a real bad day ala VH3.

    Byron Leftwich had that problem last year and it made him a convenient scapegoat for the team. This year, Todd will be held accountable unless he miraculously gets the team to 9-8, that is not going to happen.

  31. HC Grover Says:

    All his management is same as clock

  32. Bosch Says:

    Bowel movement’s failure as a defensive coordinator now equals or exceeds his failure as a head coach. BTW. Does anyone the denial returning? The BM is placing blame squarely on the players and none on coaching. Watch for this trend to continue as the Bucs circle the drain.

  33. The Beer Whisperer Says:

    I definitely would want those 10 seconds. The Bucs are not known as fast scorers.

    It’s usually takes them 10 minutes, before sniffing FG range, lol

  34. The Beer Whisperer Says:

    It masterfully done by Todd Bowles.

    I would attach “high recommendations” onto his pink-slip.

  35. Hodad Says:

    Just fire the man already.

  36. Richard Dickson Says:

    Don’t agree. We had the field goal and the tie pretty much in the bag. And 39 seconds is plenty of time for a few shots at the end zone before making the kick. Coaching because you’re afraid of bad things happening is coaching to lose.

  37. T. McGee Says:

    This is a dumb rule anyway.

  38. GumboIsForWinner Says:

    It gives less of a buffer. If you take a sack or run a few plays then take a sack on 3rd down you want that timeout to save you more than 10 seconds to get the FG unit on the field. It’s actually a higher risk of getting clocked out before scoring to save those 10 seconds than to retain your last TO.
    It’s a dumb move from every concievable angle.

  39. Deadwood South Dakota Says:

    This coach has no respect from his players.. it was so obvious that not one of the players who were toast ever accepted they suck or played hard.. Todd boob is toast and if u think this team will rise to save his job.. just turn on the 2nd half of the Houston game and that will tell u how much respect they have for him.. he stands up there and the press stare at each other as crickets sound.. I will say this again the press have no balls to call him out.. they just let him say his canned response and then they stare at each other… over or under on how many times bowles will say we r working on it the practice hard or that’s a coaching issue and then the press will just shut up and they stare at each other
    I say he will say it 5 times and thr press will blow him kisses and he will walk away

  40. Erik Hesson - Fine Artist and Founder of Says:

    Bowles wanted to make sure that CJ Stroud had enough time to score.

    He didn’t want to be rude and not leave Stroud enough time. Duh

  41. Erik Hesson - Fine Artist and Founder of Says:

    And Joes:

    It’s the extra 10-sec PLUS the 3-5 sec wasted on the ensuing kickoff by not squib kicking it or something of that nature.

    So, those 13-15 seconds are the exact extra amount of time the Texans needed to score their TD.

    Game over. Time management lost us this game in the last minute.

    That’s on Bowles, 100%.

  42. Bobby M. Says:

    Bowles always has a rationale for his decisions, reality is his results are terrible. Call it bad luck or whatever you want but his decision to all out blitz the Rams cost us….His decision to not trust Brady in Cleveland last year cost us….against the Texans, same thing….it cost us a loss. Morale of the story for whatever reason or rationale Bowles simply doesn’t get the necessary results. It’s that simple….you are expected to win when facing a rookie QB with 40 seconds remaining when you’re expertise is defense. It doesn’t happen and hasn’t happened with other teams, QBs, etc. Bowles can’t deliver.

  43. Duane in Sanford Says:

    Disagree Joe. The timeout should have been held to kick the field goal and send the game to overtime as a last resort. Instead, they score one play later, and Bowles insight was proven moot. We have become so conditioned by Bowles speak that we forget to critical think. I was just one call, but at the end of the game and end of the day, ONE guy is responsible for making it.

  44. Nicholas Carlson Says:

    Part of it is that he has a history of being bad with time management.

    The other part of it is that he has a 37-55 record as a head coach.

  45. The Beer Whisperer Says:

    All the Bucs had to do, was not let the Texans score a quick TD.

    Instead, they let CJ Stroud turn into a Tom Brady.

  46. Erik The Viking Says:

    Losing coaches find a way to lose. Winners do the opposite.

    Lemmings will make excuses all day long to cover the failures of loser coaches.

    This is where Joe comes in.

    I wonder if lube is provided at One Buc Place…..

  47. BucsFanSince76 Says:

    The problem joe is you completely ignore Bowles asinine mismanagement of the clock at the end of the first half with :57 left and second and 20 and then 3rd and 17 , but he took no timeouts to preserve clock when you have a kicker that can hit from 60+ yards. At the above mentioned :57 Bowles had 3 timeouts left and was being castigated by the announcers for not using them. It is never just one thing that constitutes poor clock management , but multiple examples over the last 2 years say Bowles is NOT a good clock manager.

  48. RingTheRicky Says:

    Its a dumb, hindsight criticism. Plenty of other reasons to criticize Bowles

  49. RingTheRicky Says:

    Even in this thread people criticizing that specific event by referring to other events or reputation. Its venting

  50. WeMakeCustomTeez Says:

    agreed! bunch of armchair coaching going on this issue (myself included)… easy to say what you would after the fact… hindsight is always 20/20

  51. Brendahadababy Says:

    Hindsight is 20/20. Bucs were losing that game whether it was 47 seconds or 17 seconds and OT loss. It’s who they are.

  52. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    Colonel angus has this one spot on. It’s posted above.

  53. Duane in Sanford Says:

    Its not a hindsight thing. The goal is to score with as little of the clock remaining before giving the ball back. The timeout was the best tool Bowles had available to make that happen. Bowles had the field goal and normally plays to not lose. He panicked after the fumble, and went completely against his natural tendencies. The breakdown of the clock by the other fans isnt armchair analysis, its fact and a detailed note of his folly.

  54. BucsFanSince76 Says:

    Again look at his mismanagement right before the half-NOT HINDSIGHT-it was called out by the announcers in REAL TIME,

  55. Rod Munch Says:

    Well, at the time I thought it was really stupid and the wrong call, I’d rather take the 10 second run-offs and have a TO in my pocket.

    But the bigger issue, and why I personally give him flak for the stupid call, is that he’s TRYING to run down the clock knowing his garbage zone defense isn’t going to hold up. The Bucs are running the clock down – then, at the first moment where he has to make a decision, he abandons his plan.

    If Bowles hadn’t been doing that, hadn’t cared more about running the clock in Buffalo rather than trying to score before halftime, I wouldn’t have given this much of a thought. But Bowles played the series to run the clock basically out, and then abandoned it because the variables changed and he panicked and threw his plans out the window.

  56. Mike C Says:

    RingTheRicky Says:
    November 7th, 2023 at 1:18 pm

    Its a dumb, hindsight criticism. Plenty of other reasons to criticize Bowles

    Except I was yelling as it was happening that it was a terrible idea, NOT hindsight!

  57. Jeffrey Becker Says:

    dead wrong. ur argument makes no sense. they could have used the timeout they didn’t use if/when the eff’d things up. everybody knows the idea of that last drive was to score with not enuf time left to lose. plus, they were only down 3 so worst case u kick and go to OT. he’s messed up plenty of time in such situations. ask tom brady if that was the right call

  58. Glass Half Full Guy Says:

    The extra 10 seconds were not needed and with the field position and time remaining, keeping a timeout in your pocket “just in case” would have been a smarter move. If they fail to score use the TO to kick a FG to tie or use it on D if needed so we didn’t have an Atlanta repeat. There wre 49 seconds on the clock when that TO was used. Having 39 seconds still would have been enough time to run a full set of plays without panicking, especially with a TO to use.

    If Canales was dumb enough (and I believe he is) to call a running play, time still wouldn’t have been a factor and getting lined up quickly after a failed or short run takes very little time for the play to be run and to reset whether you have to spike it or run a quick pass play to the sideline or end zone or throw the ball away.

    Like Joe said, a 75 yard YD drive in 46 seconds (40) is highly unusual but it’s even harder with 36 seconds and you still have a timeout to get your defense straight.

    There were far bigger issues than that decision but the best teams make the right calls even if they seem trivial at the time or even in hindsight.

  59. Matt Says:

    I screamed the second they did it. Looking and down and distance, that was just stupid to begin with. And it came back to bite us. Just one mistake among many.

  60. statguy Says:

    There was no reason to put extra time on period.
    They were already in short FG range with the opportunity to win the game. Houston was using timeouts to save clock and we used our timeout to save clock for them also. You take as much off the clock you can. This is checkers not chess and im blown away from the lack of grasping this concept.

  61. PNW Buc Says:

    Let the clock run, save the timeout if needed… because, the defense, and the coaches should have known this, was having it’s worst game of the season.

  62. Karl Says:

    Todd Bowls is done. Weithher it’s clock management or his conservative nature as Head Coach, it’s obvious he is not built for the position. However,he has been a very good DC, when that was his only responsibility. The answer might already be in house. Bruce Arians is still listed as a “special assistant”to the GM!. If Jason Light could somehow convince BA to fire up his golf cart, maybe Bruce can convince Todd to step over, concentrate on the Defense and maybe the season is not over! Think about it. Everyone is asking why Mike and Chris seem to disappear when the game is on the line. I’m sure it’s because they are DTd and Baker has been ordered not to make a mistake. . So he checks down. But with BA saying”no risk it.. no biscuit..who knows

  63. Toad Bowels Says:

    Someone buy me a Timex for game day. The sundial that I normally use for time management doesn’t seem to work well in. indoor stadiums.


  64. MelvinJunior Says:

    No It Doesn’t Assume… It Was The WRONG Call, PERIOD. Straight from the get go, and I was screaming-it THEN!!!! You say, “If Something Goes Wrong?” Well, THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT!!!!” It was his LAST TIME-OUT (down 3, and already in ‘chip-shot’ FG-range)… The ‘time-out’ there, is farrrrr MORE VALUABLE. And, I could see-it all going down in ‘real-time!’ Baker takes a SACK… Then, the Bucs are all running around trying to get the “FG-Team” on the field, just barely getting the snap off, which is then bobbled, & the kick hits the long-snapper square in the A$$$$$$$. Butttt, thennnnn… We get a TOUCHDOWN, & I’m thinking well, Bowles just got sooooo ‘bailed-out’ there!!!! NOPE.

  65. MelvinJunior Says:

    It’s an Elementary Decision… OBVIOUS, in every single way, imaginable!!!! Or, should have been. There is NOT one reason for WHY anyone would even consider burning YOUR LAST ‘TIMEOUT’ THERE. Period. Now, if you had ‘TWO’ Timeouts remaning… Then, YES!!!! You just CAN’T afford to risk YOUR LAST… It is farrrr more valuable than JUST 10 fricken seconds there, in THAT Situation, being down 3 and already in ‘chip-shot’ FG-range. PERIOD. There is NO other way to look at it. End of Story. And, to me it has NOTHING to do with how the game turned-out either (that was ALL on the Defense), but EVERYTHING to do WITH BOWLES!!!! Because, this CONTINUES to happen in these situations… Over and Over & Again and Again, with HIM & I Don’t Get-It!!!! Can’t Understand-It. HOW Can A Guy COACH FOOTBALL For ALL These YEARS, & NOT KNOW What To Do In These Situations… I Mean, Totally CLUELESS!?!?!?! It’s like, do you even WATCH football, and other Teams and COACHES!?:/ It’s UNBELIEVABLE. Maybe, He Should Start Playing MADDEN To Learn, but I bet that wouldn’t help!!!! I have NEVER seen SUCH incompetence before, EVER. He must be DUMB then, I guess.

  66. Cameron Says:

    This article makes absolutely no sense. Joe, you were worried that the Bucs might screw things up by accidentally staying in bounds – how the HELL does getting rid of your final timeout prevent that? Doesn’t getting rid of your last timeout make it MORE likely you’ll make a game-ending stupid decision, not less? Are you forgetting that Bowles traded those 10 seconds for his last timeout?

    On top of that, the Texans had just used their own timeout on the previous play in order to stop the clock! Clearly the Texans believed it was in their best interest for the clock to stop.

    I don’t understand the Bowles apologetics. He’s awful as play-caller. He’s made SO MANY inexcusable decisions, like this burned timeout. The Bucs will be better as soon as he’s gone.

  67. Pablothepoolboy Says:

    It wasn’t the last 40 seconds but the entire 2nd half of defensive Em Bare Ass Ment football that cost us.

  68. garro Says:

    Thats alot of woulda shoulda coulda right there folks!

    Come on Man!

    Totally agree with Joe on this one.

    Go Bucs!