The Titans decided to punt, and potentially punted away their Super Bowl hopes.
In the fourth quarter down 17-13, Mike Vrabel and the Titans opted to punt in Ravens territory, raising eyebrows and earning criticism from all corners of the Twittersphere.
On a fourth-and-2 from the Ravens’ 40-yard line with 10:06 left on the game clock, Vrabel and the Titans opted to punt, giving the ball back to the Ravens with ample time left. The Ravens would drive down the field and net a field goal, giving them the 20-13 lead. The score would hold for the final.
“Just decided to punt,” Vrabel said in his postgame press conference. “We were playing well defensively, thought we would get a punt inside the 10 and be able to play the field position game. Had some time there that I felt like we could. We held ’em to a field goal.”
Of course, these decisions are oftentimes painstakingly made and its often easy to second-guess these decisions in real time — but Vrabel’s decision to punt is the first time it’s happened in over 25 years, per Pro Football Reference.
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The analytics also disagree — vehemently — with Vrabel’s decision in that particular moment, leading to plenty of reinforcement for the head-scratching over the decision.
Of course, the internet doesn’t forget: Vrabel once was quoted as saying he would lop off his own genitals if it meant a Super Bowl appearance for the Titans. Clearly, the potential beheading played into Vrabel’s mind, and the adoring public reminded the Titans HC of that.
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