Mike Vrabel made a late blunder Sunday afternoon and his explanation will only make Titans fans angrier.
The Tennessee Titans struggled mightily on offense Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. They managed a total of 13 points, but were driving at the start of the fourth quarter.
The Titans ended up with a crucial decision facing a 4th-and-2 at the Ravens’ 40-yard line with just over 10 minutes to go. Derrick Henry was not having a great day, but it seemed like a run was in order. Instead, Mike Vrabel chose to punt and the decision was widely mocked on social media. He offered up an explanation postgame that won’t have fans feeling much better.
"Just decided to punt. Thought we were playing well defensively…play the field position game." – Vrabel when asked to take us thru his thought process on the 4th quarter, 4th down punt. #Titans
— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) January 10, 2021
Vrabel’s explanation doesn’t ease the pain of a loss
Vrabel is correct that his defense was playing well. The problem was the offense. They were in no state to mount a large drive late. Punting the ball for a net of just over 20 yards was pointless as the Ravens quickly picked up the difference in a matter of a few plays.
His decision was almost too rare to be true.
This is the first time in our database (complete back to 1994) that a team in the playoffs punted on 4th and 2 from this field position, down by one score in the 4th Quarter https://t.co/DNdUZL4fzw https://t.co/LLUp1yMUgt
— ProFootballReference (@pfref) January 10, 2021
Following the punt the Ravens took nearly six minutes off the clock and kicked a field goal to go up 20-13. Not punting is an easy decision to make in hindsight, but was also the obvious one in the moment. Vrabel may need to spend the offseason reading up on situational decision-making.
The Titans received the kickoff following the field goal and had to try and go the length of the field. A Ryan Tannehill interception ended those hopes as the Titans were rushing due to more brutal decisions that wasted time without really advancing the ball.
An offense that is struggling needs all the help and confidence-boosting decisions it can get. Vrabel went way too conservative and failed to see the problems before him. There was no assurance going for it would have resulted in a first down.
However, what is the point of having Henry if you won’t use him when it counts the most?
Vrabel has all offseason to think about that.