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The Tennessee Titans replaced Marcus Mariota at quarterback a few weeks ago and everyone was wondering how Ryan Tannehill would fair. As of right now, Tannehill is 2-0 and the Titans are headed to Carolina looking to extend that winning streak to three games. While the questions at quarterback have faded away, one question mark again reared its ugly head again this past Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The play was fourth and two and the Titans were up 27-23 late in the fourth quarter. In an effort to get a cheap first down and essentially end the ballgame, Titans’ head coach Mike Vrabel left his offense on the field to attempt to draw the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offsides.
The Titans did not succeed there, so they used a timeout and put the field goal team on the field. The assumption was the Titans would kick the field goal and take a 30-23 lead late in the game. What would actually happen would be nothing of the sort.
Instead of kicking the field goal, the Titans faked a field goal and punter Brent Kern took the snap and ran around the left end of the defense. The Bucs were ready for the fake and Kern was slammed to the ground short of the first down, giving the Bucs the ball and a chance to win the game.
The Titans defense would ultimately step in and finish the game but that play could have cost them greatly.
After the game, Mike Vrabel addressed the play and here is what he had to say (video courtesy of ESPN’s Turron Davenport)
While the confidence from Vrabel in his team can be admired, what cannot be admired is this decision. It could have cost them the game and given them a loss they could not afford to take.
The play also could have injured his punter, who took a serious hit on that play. This decision though, falls in line with some other questionable calls from Vrabel as a head coach of this team this season.
For example, the Titans were up 24-10 in the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 4. It was fourth down and with a short field goal, the Titans would take a three-score lead. Instead of taking the field goal, Vrabel decided to go for it. The attempt failed and although the Titans won the game, that decision was extremely puzzling.
Decisions like this and the fourth down decision against the Bucs can be ones that cost your team a game and although you can admire the confidence he has, Vrabel has to be a little more calculated in his chances to roll the dice. With a team that has limited offense and incredible defense, you don’t want to rock the boat too much.