Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel spoke about the decision to sit Derrick Henry and Week 17, and the horrible missed call on a hit to Kalif Raymond’s head.
With the Titans trailing 31-28 in the fourth quarter with just over four minutes left to play, Ryan Tannehill hit Raymond for a 23-yard gain that would have put Tennessee in New Orleans territory had Raymond held onto the ball.
Unfortunately, Raymond took an illegal blow to his head that seemingly knocked him unconscious, and he understandably fumbled the ball, which enabled the Saints to recover and return it all the way back to the Titans’ 25-yard line.
The Saints would go on to score just six plays later, and it turned out to be a huge swing in the game that put the Titans away for good. Had the flag been thrown, the Titans would have gotten 15 yards from their original spot, putting them at the Saints’ 47-yard line.
When asked about it after the game, Titans head coach Mike Vrabel definitely thought the hit should have been flagged, per ESPN’s Turron Davenport.
“You want to ask me if I thought that was a hit to the head of a defenseless receiver?” Vrabel asked. “I did. But again, they (the officials) didn’t see it that way.”
And it seems the officials never see it the Titans’ way when it counts.
Now, that’s not to erase the amount of penalties that were called on the Saints during the course of the game, but officials basically handed the Saints two touchdowns and missed a flag on a play that saw a player getting knocked unconscious. That is absolutely inexcusable.
Another hot topic both before and after the game was the decision to sit Derrick Henry in Week 16. Henry had been playing hurt the past two weeks while dealing with a hamstring injury.
Just as we thought, Vrabel confirmed that the Titans decided to give Henry a week of rest so that he can be as close to 100 percent as possible in a “win and in” Week 17 game against the Houston Texans, per Jim Wyatt of Titans Online.
"“That was an organizational decision that we thought was best for the football team,” Vrabel said of Henry.“I fully understand with the toll and rigor. You can only hope that it would help and that is why we made the decision that we made.”"
In Henry’s absence, the Titans got a solid contribution from Dion Lewis — that’s right, Dion Lewis — who totaled 68 yards on 11 carries (5.2 yards per tote) after his first two carries went nowhere. He also added one catch for 19 yards.
Hopefully the decision pays off, as the Titans will need every single carry they can get out of Henry while fighting for their playoff lives against the Texans.