Let’s call a spade a spade. By going for it on fourth-and-1 with 2:35 remaining, Mike Vrabel took a risk that some Titans fans were not fond of.
Personally, I didn’t mind the decision to go for it at all. The Chargers had no timeouts left and a first down would have ended the game, so I don’t fault Vrabel for making the decision to go for it.
My issues are with what transpired afterwards.
For one, Derrick Henry is listed at 6-foot-3 and 247 pounds — why not just hand him the ball straight up the middle? Sure, the Chargers are expecting it, but with their various injuries defensively, it’s not likely they would have stopped it.
Second of all, Tannehill was ruled short on the play, but on the instant replay, you could make the argument that he got forward progress but was given a horrible spot.
In that situation, you HAVE to throw the challenge flag. That could be the difference between winning and losing a game, and it nearly was, had it not been for the effort of the defense.
Arthur Smith did a better job of mixing up the play-calling this time around, but sometimes got a bit too predictable. Still, he tailored to the strengths of Tannehill, with a lot of the passing plays utilizing play-action.
He also ran remarkably less screen passes, which is always a plus.
Dean Pees called a solid game defensively, although I think it would have been wise to game plan for Ekeler and Henry a bit more. There is just no excuse for having Wesley Woodyard, a 33-year old linebacker who’s been in the league for more than a decade, locked onto a speedy receiving back like Ekeler.
That said, the Titans did more than enough to win the game, but the coaching staff is going to have to be a little less predictable if they want to continue to grind out these games.