My son Dan says I need to write about a clock mistake made today by Phillip Rivers, the SD QB.
:35 left first down. Chargers down by 3. They made the first down with an inbounds play so the game clock is running. Rivers spikes the ball to stop the clock.
That’s wrong. You only spike the ball when you do not have enough time to use your remaining downs. For example, if you have first down with :12 left and the game clock running, you spike the ball to stop the clock because you have four downs and :12 is only enough to run two plays.
In the event, The Chargers were unable to gain a first down on second and third down so they were forced to try a field goal from 45 yards. They missed and thereby lost the game.
Would they have gotten the first down if they had not wasted the first down with a spike? Maybe. Their chances would have been better with three downs instead of just two before they needed to kick.
Here is the play-by-play:
(:44) (No Huddle) 17-P.Rivers spiked the ball to stop the clock.
(:43) (Shotgun) 17-P.Rivers FUMBLES (Aborted) at CLE 38, and recovers at CLE 38. 17-P.Rivers to CLE 38 for no gain (51-J.Collins).
(:28) 17-P.Rivers pass short left to 85-A.Gates to CLE 27 for 11 yards (21-J.Taylor).
(:00) 2-J.Lambo 45 yard field goal is No Good, Wide Right, Center-47-M.Windt, Holder-10-K.Clemens.
My book has my clock management rules. Rivers violated a hurry-up rule—Rule 4.00(o) which says: “Spike the ball only to stop the clock for a field goal when you have no timeouts left or when your number of downs exceeds the number of plays you can run in the half; do not attempt to spike the ball if fewer than :03 remain on the game clock at the snap.”