The Pittsburgh Steelers needed two other games to go their way yesterday aside from their own in order to make the postseason. They got what they needed, but the one that we all thought would be easy proved to be anything but. The Jacksonville Jaguars manhandled the Indianapolis Colts, but all the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers had to do was not tie. The clock read 0:00 in overtime before there was a winner.
It probably helped that this week’s matchups were division games, providing teams with a little added motivation to get whatever result they could. The Jaguars actually had motivation to lose, if anything, to try to preserve their first overall pick, but the Detroit Lions winning kept them in that position anyway.
When told after the game that they had eliminated the Indianapolis Colts, Jaguars interim head coach Darrell Bevell said, “Okay, great! So, that’s what we were trying to do today”. He added when told that his team’s win would likely push the Pittsburgh Steelers into the postseason, he was appreciative of that, as well. “I haven’t talked to him, but Mike Tomlin and I, we were offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator in Minnesota together, so congrats to him”, he said.
So, that doesn’t hurt. But like I mentioned, and like you probably saw at quarter after midnight, the Raiders and Chargers would just not quit. The Chargers had to come back from down 15 points at the end of regulation just to tie, but the two teams exchanged field goals in overtime. And Raiders interim head coach Rich Bisaccia acknowledged that they did think about playing for the tie right at the end.
“It was a conversation. We were talking about it. We ran the ball there, and they didn’t call a timeout, so I think they were probably thinking the same thing. Then we had the big run, and we got to what we thought was advantageous field goal position for us, and we were gonna take the field goal and try to win it”, he said.
The Raiders got the ball back with 4:30 to play. They quickly found themselves in 3rd and 8 from their own 44, but Derek Carr was able to throw for the first down to reach the two-minute warning. That would have been enough to run out the clock for both teams, which would have resulted in both advancing to the postseason.
They ran once, losing a yard. Nobody called a timeout. They ran again, picking up seven. The Chargers called a timeout, with 38 seconds to play, to set up the 3rd-and-4 play. Then Josh Jacobs picked up 10 yards down to the Chargers’ 29-yard line. The Raiders called a timeout with two seconds to play and then kicked the game winner.
“We wanted to see if they would call a timeout on that run. They didn’t, so we thought they were thinking the same thing”, Bisaccia reiterated. “And then we popped the run and it gave us a chance to kick the field goal to win it. We were certainly talking about it”.
It’s a good thing they got that run, because if not, the Steelers would be flying home and staying home. Instead, they will be preparing for a Sunday night game in Kansas City. I doubt many expect that to go very well, but hey, they have a chance. The Jaguars won. They can win, too.