It seemed very convenient for the home team at Levi’s Stadium, the way the game clock only went from 2 minutes, 2 seconds remaining in Sunday night’s Eagles victory over the San Francisco 49ers to 2:01 as the Eagles' Richard Rodgers recovered the 49ers' onside kick attempt.
This meant the clock stopped again after the Eagles' first snap of the ensuing possession, for the two-minute warning. The host 49ers had two timeouts remaining, which they used after the subsequent second- and third-down snaps by the Eagles, who had to punt the ball back with 1:46 remaining. San Francisco regained possession with 1:40 left, after a fair catch at its 12-yard line.
Had the clock ticked to the two-minute warning during the onside kick, quarterback C.J. Beathard would have run out of time long before he managed to heave the ball into the end zone from the Eagles' 33 on the final snap of the game. Darius Slay knocked the Hail Mary away from George Kittle, but a disastrous ending for the Eagles was a lot closer than it needed to be.
Remember, though, the clock doesn’t start on a kickoff until the ball is touched. Rodgers was on the ground when he scooped the ball. He bobbled it slightly under him, but he had clear possession and had given himself up. Eagles special teams coordinator Dave Fipp said Tuesday that the one-second play was unfortunate, but not a miscarriage of justice.
“We all understand that in that game, two seconds would have been better for us, but I would say, honestly ... that’s pretty standard," he said.
Fipp said that if he is kicking off with one second left in the half, he asks his kicker to kick to one of the front-line players on the other team, who fields the ball and takes a knee. But he said he wouldn’t risk that with two seconds left, because the play usually only takes one second, and the other team would have time and field position to do something.
“Richard Rodgers did bobble the ball a little bit – all of that happens really fast – he’s still really declared himself down,” Fipp said. “So I would say I would have a hard time arguing that they did anything wrong with that. I think the one-second runoff was fair.”
Later in the session, Fipp said that he thought Cre’Von LeBlanc’s nickname was “scrap” because he is scrappy. Actually, it’s “strap,” which the Urban Dictionary defines as a gun.
Maybe that balances the scales for LeBlanc calling George Kittle “Kittles” several times during a postgame interview, after the San Francisco tight end caught 15 passes for 183 yards and a touchdown, including a 38-yarder with LeBlanc in coverage.