Game-Changing Play of the Week: 49ers Leave Too Much Time on the Clock with Late TD

What were the 49ers thinking, not eating as much clock as possible?

It's not too often that arguably the biggest play of the game in favor of the Packers is a positive play for the other team, but given way the end of last night's game between Green Bay and San Francisco played out, that's exactly what happened.

Late in the game, the 49ers were driving down the field and purposefully chewing time off the clock, knowing the Packers had no timeouts and wanting to avoid a potentail Aaron Rodgers miracle comeback.

What then happened on the final play of the drive was a bit of a stunner.

Rather than letting the play clock wind all the way down to chew up more time, Jimmy Garoppolo snapped the ball with about 12 seconds left. That means had he used all that time and the result of the play had been the same, the 49ers would have given the Packers about 11 or 12 seconds less to work with when they got the ball back.

It was a massive mistake that ultimately cost the 49ers the game. 

The Packers got the ball back with 37 seconds to go and no timeouts. Had they only had 25 seconds, the approach they'd have taken to get downfield would have been completely different.

Rodgers was able to use the middle of the field to find Davante Adams, because there was enough time for the team to run down and spike the ball. With 12 fewer seconds to work with, the team probably would have had to make greater use of the sideline, dramatically reducing the selection of plays available to them.

In fact, the playcalling *specifically* worked the field in that situation, knowing the coverage tendencies the 49ers had in those types of moments.

The rest, as they say, is history. The Packers had enough time to get a couple long plays to Adams to set up Mason Crosby for a long game-winning field goal attempt, which he of course made because he is an absolute machine.

There were other plays that could potentially have altered the course of the game. The missed intentional grounding call at the end of the first half that gave the 49ers seven points. The backwards pass/fumble by Jimmy Garoppolo that halted the 49ers' offensive momentum.

But this mistake by the 49ers, occurring when it did, ultimately is what cost the team the game and even gave the Packers the opportunity to kick the field goal to win it.

Thank goodness for Mason Crosby.

__________________________

Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

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Comments (20)

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Crankbait's picture

September 27, 2021 at 04:07 pm

Niners did not leave too much time on the clock. 35 seconds or so with no timeouts should have stifled a team from scoring, but the Niners defense turned into a typical crunch time Packers defense.
What ultimately transpired was a big middle finger to the NFL and their referees .

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Packers0808's picture

September 27, 2021 at 04:25 pm

Not seen or read anywhere, but wonder Packer Strategy to let them score, them being on one yard line? Doubt who knows!

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dobber's picture

September 27, 2021 at 05:57 pm

Not if you watch that play. Jusczcyxayk didn't just walk into the endzone.

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THESZOTMAN1's picture

September 27, 2021 at 04:32 pm

Hate to repeat one of my posts from last week, BUT.....
This team can score from anywhere on the field at will.
Nice of 9ers to leave us just enough time to do it.
GPG
The Szotman

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croatpackfan's picture

September 27, 2021 at 04:46 pm

I will say only this. Lot of Packers fans was downplaying win vs Lions. Did you watch their loss to Ravens? Only miracle took the victory from Lions. Miracle of 66 yards long FG, the longest ever in football history. Kicked ball bounced from crossbar back in the air and decided to fall over it. Lions kept Ravens on their back until that moment.

MLF learned from those 2 painfull losses vs 49ers and prepared together with Barry very good plan for the game. That plan was almost ruined by horrible officiating (non calls on obvious DPi from 49ers, and few ridiculous DPI calls on Packers D, placing on very favourable spots the ball for 49ers snaps, missing intentional grounding, calling roughing the passer for angry look at Jimmy G, not to mention head to head collision on DA seen by everyone on the stadium except them, etc, etc).

It was the worst officiating I ever saw. It was worse than Sesttle hail Mary TD officiating crew did.

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Lphill's picture

September 27, 2021 at 05:34 pm

The game changer that made it a game was the non call of international grounding before the half then the TD should have been 17 to 3 at the half .

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13TimeChamps's picture

September 27, 2021 at 05:46 pm

International grounding. I have so many zingers for that, but I'm just going to let it go.

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Lphill's picture

September 27, 2021 at 08:22 pm

You know I meant intentional unless you really didn’t

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canadapacker's picture

September 27, 2021 at 05:41 pm

Listened to a bunch of talk about this. If he gives himself up at the 1 yard line who knows if they score after running the clock down? They needed 6 points. What happens if he goes down at the 1 - will they score probably - but in one game on Sunday and the previous week in the Vegas game - they had a first and goal and both teams never scored - false start, holding penalty and maybe a field goal or a INT when the ball hits a player in the hands into the opposition. So you take the TD and make a stop. All just a bunch of talk by the guys doing the talking. The game never should have gotten that far - the first half should have ended on a field goal because that was grounding and the second PI against Stokes was a really really bad call. Plus the very obvious helmet to helmet missed call. We deserved the win even though before the game I didnt think we would get it.

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dobber's picture

September 27, 2021 at 06:01 pm

"If he gives himself up at the 1 yard line who knows if they score after running the clock down? "

Reminded of Jamaal Williams doing that last season so the Packers could kill the clock...can't remember who they were playing. Heady veteran play, but I recall that the Packers had the lead, and with SF playing from behind, they had to have the score.

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canadapacker's picture

September 27, 2021 at 06:42 pm

Have seen the opposite when a guys runs out of bounds when leading and it is like giving the other team an extra time out. In this case they are arguing that he should have run down the play clock closer to 0. But how does he know that he is going to score from that area of the field - when you need to score from out near the 20 - you punch it in. And as I said above - we have seen over the past 2 weeks - teams go backwards when set up first and goal from the 1.

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LeotisHarris's picture

September 27, 2021 at 06:06 pm

Good call, Tim, and nice article. I expected the Packers to be humiliated once again on the west coast, and I am so glad to have been wrong.

After all the horseshit calls and non-calls during the game, to have leading man from central casting and glorified mouth-breather Jimmy Garoppolo, *and* Master Wizard Offensive Guru Kyle Shanahan trip on their dicks at crunch time was especially satisfying.

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ImaPayne's picture

September 27, 2021 at 06:09 pm

I thought the Packers left too much time on the clock for the niners. They had three time outs and 2:31 seconds to score a TD. The HC has to do a better job in the mental department. Seems he loses it in close games with little time left.

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Packers0808's picture

September 27, 2021 at 06:22 pm

Was it me but did it seem that the two head coaches supposedly best friends after the game didn't seem very friendly at all. Actually looked liked La Fluer was totally pissed and not smiling at the point after a great win!

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murf7777's picture

September 27, 2021 at 06:24 pm

I wish Rodgers would stopping using all the TO’s due to the clock running down. He’s lucky it didn’t cost the game this time. With a couple of time outs they might’ve got closer for a much easier field goal attempt.

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Since'61's picture

September 27, 2021 at 10:15 pm

MLF lost one timeout on a challenge. Rodgers timeout calls were the result of the plays not coming in on a timely manner. One of the plays came in with only 12 seconds left on the play clock. It's actually a good move to call a time out if the blocking assignments are not set rather than taking a penalty or having a turnover forced or getting a player injured because the assignments are not set.

Rodgers does tend to run the clock down but when the play is set he runs the play. If the offense assignments are not set he calls a timeout.

In any case he made it work with only 37 seconds left.

It was actually SF that messed up the clock. They could have run 12 more seconds off the clock on the go ahead TD and they should have followed the TD with a short KO to force a run back and make the Packers use a few seconds on the return. Fortunately they didn't and Crosby kicked the game winner yet again. Thanks, Since '61

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Qoojo's picture

September 27, 2021 at 06:45 pm

Too much hindsight. What happens if there was a sack or negative play?

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Leatherhead's picture

September 27, 2021 at 09:07 pm

We scored 30.. Seven teams scored 30 this weekend and they all won We just about always win when we hit 30. We hit 30 over 70% of the time.

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4thand1's picture

September 27, 2021 at 10:18 pm

A lot of game changing plays. Usually about 7 plays decide an outcome of a game. D Adams and AR are the biggest game changers in the league right now. The refs almost changed the game for the 9ers. The Packers overcame a lot of BS and still won. MLF showed a lot of emotion on the sideline, he had the Pack fired up! Hope they jump on the Steelers early, they should be favored by 10 or more.

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Minniman's picture

September 28, 2021 at 02:10 pm

Mostly these attempts and miracle plays end in disappointment - With his play-clock hiccup, I guess now Jimmy's a believer!

The only question now is what do we call this game? It needs a name in Packers lore........For sure.

I'll admit, calling it the "Cantonization of Crosby" may be a bit premature - but there were certainly some doubts that got exorcised by not only coming back to win, but doing it against San Francisco...... this is a recent memory 'bogey' team for the Packers that's been bested.

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