Texans interim coach Romeo Crennel eschewed a field goal that would have put his team up four points in favor of a fourth-down play that resulted in a Brandin Cooks touchdown catch pushing Houston up seven points over the Tennessee Titans with 1:50 to play. Crennel’s next decision didn’t work out as well.
The interim coach called for a 2-point attempt in an effort to stretch the lead to nine instead of kicking the extra point and making it an eight-point game. On the 2-point try, Deshaun Watson bought time and had a wide-open Randall Cobb for a conversion that would have all but clinched the win. Titans defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, however, got a paw on the ball to deflect the pigskin to the ground.
From there, the Titans marched down the field, kicked an extra point to tie, sent the game to overtime and won on a Derrick Henry TD on the first possession of OT.
“I wanted to go ahead and get the two points,” Crennel said defending his decision, via Sarah Barshop of ESPN. “It felt like that would kind of put it out of reach for them, and if we would have gotten it, we would have been in much better shape. As it turned out, we didn’t get it, and then with the touchdown and the extra point they tied it up, and we were in overtime.”
It’s possible that the Titans would have converted their own 2-point try later to send the game to overtime had Crennel kicked the extra point. In that alternate reality, Crennel is probably being asked why he didn’t consider going for two.
Star defensive tackle J.J. Watt dismissed the question of whether Crennel’s decision reflected poorly on the defense’s ability to get a stop.
“That’s above my pay grade,” Watt said. “I don’t know what you’re supposed to do there. I don’t know.”
Houston safety Justin Reid, however, liked the decision to play for the win.
“I don’t feel bad about it at all,” Reid said. “We wanted to win the game. And I support that aggressiveness. It worked out for us last week. And had we converted on the 2-point conversion, this would be a totally different conversation. So it is what it is.”
Like minds can differ whether Crennel made the right call. ESPN’s win probability calculator suggested Houston had a 98.2 percent chance to win if they kicked the PAT and a 98.1 percent chance if they went for two. Those figures speak to the overwhelming advantage Houston blew by letting Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry march for the score, regardless of Crennel’s choice.
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