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Why punting on 4th and 2 yesterday was waiving the white flag

NFL: AFC Wild Card Round-Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans USA TODAY Sports

Let me start by saying that Mike Vrabel has done a fantastic job as the head coach of the Tennessee Titans. He was billed as a “leader of men” when he was hired and has proven to be that in his three years here. His record speaks for itself.

With that being said, Vrable still has some work today on his in-game coaching decisions. The latest one being the decision to punt on 4th and 2 yesterday. The Titans lost the game at that moment, and here’s why:

The Titans under Vrabel have forged an identity as a physical football team. They want to line up and punch you in the mouth at the line of scrimmage - especially on offense with Derrick Henry running the football. If that is what you are built on, you can’t punt the ball away down by a touchdown on 4th and 2 at your own 44 in the 4th quarter of a playoff game you are losing by a touchdown. You just can’t.

It told the Ravens, and the Titans for that matter, that he didn’t believe they could get 2 yards in the most important game of the season. It also told his offense that had carried the team all season that he had more faith in his defense who had been terrible all season (although they were pretty good yesterday but counting on them to continue to do it after what he had seen all season seemed ridiculous).

You can listen to John Glennon and I discuss this more on last night’s Homerun Throwback here.

There was certainly more just that here that lost the game, but that decision was so, so bad in a football sense and in a psychological sense.