From the debacle against the 49ers, we have yet another example of an Andy Reid time management mistake... this time by overthinking a situation and making the incorrect decision. It had no effect this time, but it serves as further evidence that Reid is unable/unwilling to address his own shortcomings.
Situation: Eagles are down 24-23 in the 4th quarter. We just fumbled away the ball, and the 49ers wanted to run the clock out. 1st-and-10 for the 49ers around their 35 yard line, 2:06 remaining in the game.
Frank Gore runs the ball on 1st down, getting 4 yards so it is 2nd-and-2 as the clock ticks towards the 2 minute warning. Because we want to get the ball back with as much time as possible, Reid calls timeout before the 2 minute warning. By doing this, we can effectively save a couple seconds that might be needed for a last-ditch drive for a FG, right? On the surface, it looks like a wise decision.
Everybody knows our run defense right now is, in a word, abysmal. So we all expect that the 49ers are going to run, because it's worked for them so far and because they want to ensure they burn down the clock, right? So theoretically we could put Asomugha man-on-man on a WR if the 49ers split one out, and if they split two then we have Samuel man-on-man on the other one... and everybody else goes into the box to stop the run. We basically go all out against the run.
Well, by stopping the clock at 2:02, the 49ers *know* that the 2 minute warning will stop the clock after their next play. If they wanted to, we just gave them the option to pass... an incomplete pass wouldn't have had any more of an effect on the clock than a simple run up the gut. Had they realized this -- and I'm not sure that they did, based on their formation choice for 2nd down -- they should have threw a couple WR out there to force the Eagles not to have as many defenders in the box. That would have made it easier to earn a first down via the run, or else catch us napping with a 5-to-10 yard pass attempt.
In the end, the 49ers just ran the ball down our throat... Frank Gore gained 8 yards, earning a first down and that was all she wrote. Checkmate, victory for the 49ers. So Andy Reid's decision to call a timeout and giving the 49ers the run/pass option didn't have any net effect on the game... but that doesn't change the fact that our head coach made yet another tremendous time management blunder. Against a better-coached opponent, or against an opponent with a weak rushing game (and thus looking for any "out" so they wouldn't have to rely on a short-yardage run game), this could have cost us the game. And for what, to save two seconds?
After 12 years of head coaching, we all should expect more from Andy Reid. We all have weaknesses in our selected job fields -- those who succeed find ways to improve those weaknesses, either by learning how to do it themselves or by finding somebody else who can help them. Would it really be that hard for Reid to delegate time-management decisions to a competent member of his staff -- a simple way for him to adapt to overcome this well-documented professional shortcoming? Either he has an ego issue where he won't relinquish one iota of control, or he is incapable of assessing and improving his personal limitations. Whichever it is, Andy Reid needs to do a better job of managing himself if he ever expects to guide a team to a Super Bowl victory as a head coach.