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Monday, November 12, 2012
Fisher: Late timeout enabled go-ahead TD

By Mike Sando

The St. Louis Rams' fourth-quarter decision to call timeout with 1:13 remaining in their 24-24 tie at San Francisco invited criticism Sunday.

Several people asked me about it via Twitter as the game was ending. I meant to ask Rams coach Jeff Fisher about it during postgame interviews, but as things turned out, I was a little late to his news conference after conducing interviews in the Rams' locker room.

There were so many other angles to pursue.

The timeout stopped the clock right before the Rams scored the go-ahead touchdown in regulation. San Francisco then had enough time to drive downfield for the tying field goal.

Fisher defended the decision when speaking with reporters Monday in St. Louis.

"No second-guessing, no," Fisher said. "People can second-guess that, whatever you want. I think I have a pretty good feel for clock management.

"At that point, I wanted a touchdown and we needed to talk about it. Had the clock running. Actually, we had a play called that we changed, and we changed to the touchdown play. So, no. You've got a backup quarterback [playing for the 49ers] and you've got a defense that, in a two-minute, that should win the drive, get the ball back."

It's impossible to know whether the Rams would have scored without calling a timeout. The way the game went Sunday, just about anything could have happened.

Update: Several have noted that Fisher could have let the play clock run down before calling the timeout. This is true, but at that point in the game, the Rams had first-and-goal. They didn't know how many plays they would require to score a touchdown. Perhaps taking the play clock down part of the way would have made the most sense.