run out the clock

run out the clock

1. In sports, to protect a lead by using up as much possible time that remains in a game or match without giving the opposing team a chance to score, generally by maintaining a passive or defensive strategy. With just a narrow two-point lead, the home team has started to run out the clock to hold on for a win. It seems like a risky strategy, Jim. There's a lot of game time left for them to start running out the clock already.
2. By extension, to protect an advantage by using up as much possible time that remains in a particular situation. They know they have the votes to get their client off without punishment, so I bet they just run out the clock rather than present a real defense. Shouldn't you wake Mom up? Oh, you sneak—you're trying to run out the clock so that she sleeps through your practice and you don't have to go.
See also: clock, out, run
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

run out the ˈclock

(American English) if a sports team tries to run out the clock at the end of a game, it stops trying to score and just tries to keep hold of the ball to stop the other team from scoring
See also: clock, out, run
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
Rather than punting the ball, quarterback Jason Money took it with plans to run out the clock. Which he technically did.