If Bill O’Brien knew he needed to score 50, why kick a field goal?

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During his postgame press conference, Bill O’Brien explained his decision to run a fake punt deep in his own end while holding a 24-7 lead by saying “we felt like we needed 50 points.” The Texans actually needed 52 since the Chiefs scored 51, but who’s counting?

If that’s truly the case, then how does the Texans coach explain the decision to kick a chip-shot field goal on fourth-and-one from the Kansas City 13 on the previous possession?

“I think with any decision, you’re always – in the moment — you’re trying to make the best decision for the team,” O’Brien said Monday. “Sometimes those decisions are the right decisions, and sometimes they’re not. I think that’s the nature of coaching. I think that throughout the year, there were times where we made really good decisions. There were times where maybe the decision could’ve been better. I don’t really want to comment on one specific decision. It’s just something that we’ve got to work hard to keep improving on. I feel like we did a lot of good this year relative to some of those decisions, but there’s some things that we need to improve upon. But I think there’s a bigger picture to it relative to what you’re thinking in that moment.”

O’Brien compounded the mistake not to go for it by calling timeout before kicking the field goal. Why? The timeout was more important than the 5 yards.

Ka'imi Fairbairn made a 31-yard field goal. What’s the difference between 31 and 36 yards for an NFL kicker?

The Texans could have used that timeout at the end of the half. Out of timeouts on their final possession, the Texans reached the Kansas 33 before Fairbairn missed a 51-yard field goal on the final play of the second quarter.

30 responses to “If Bill O’Brien knew he needed to score 50, why kick a field goal?

  1. I’ve watched 40 years of football andI thought take the FG. Only because if they fail on the 4th and short momentum swings.

    The FG was fine. The fake punt… Not so much.

  2. I think the game turned on that one play. They had KC against the ropes and if they had gotten the 1st down and then a TD would have been way up and KC would have been demoralized.

    Instead he took the 3 and then KC had the big kick return and scored soon thereafter and momentum was flipped.

    Especially surprising given his background with the Pats and he knows some teams you don’t win by scoring FGs against

  3. All on Bill O’Brien. Obviously if they play nine more times the chiefs win 9. Like when KC decided to wake up – they absolutely vaporized Houston, complete scorched earth. The right team won. However, say Houston goes up 28 nothing, and they don’t fake punt blah blah – those are def momentum changers that 100 percent changed the course of the game

  4. Because every point counts. It’s not that hard to figure out. I knew you could write but I thought you could do math as well.

  5. Because he took direct orders from goodell and Vegas to lose. Doesn’t take a genius to see this. I saw it at 24-0

  6. The moment he didn’t have confidence in his offense to gain a couple inches, he gave the Chiefs a defensive stop and a hint of weakness. One kickoff return (and injury) later they got hope and it was over.

  7. Chiefs were not gonna lose this game.

    Now if the NFL only counted the first quarter… yeah Texans had this game won. Instead, the Texans caught a BEAT DOWN.

  8. The fake punt was fine they needed to run it right off the bat though . They let too much time run off play clock . By doing this Kc reset their defense when the clock was running so long . If they did it quicker by surprise . It would have worked

  9. If he went for it on 4th & 1 and missed, he would have been criticized for not making it a 24 point game (3 TDs & 3 2 pt conversions, essentially a 4 score game).

    When Sean Peyton kicks an onside kick in SB and gets it, he’s a genius.
    When Bill O’Brien goes for a fake punt and doesn’t get it, he’s an idiot.
    Lesson = If it works, it’s genius. If it fails, it’s idiocy.

  10. He seemed shell-shocked in his press conference, thoroughly defeated. As a Falcons fan, I can’t help but think the hangover from Houston’s collapse will linger longer than they expect. Moving on from O’Brien might not be a bad idea.

  11. Wrong perspective going on here.

    Instead of O’Brien being criticized, credit should be given to Daniel Sorensen for being alert & making a very good Defensive play to stop Houston from getting a 1st down on the fake punt.

  12. “Ka’imi Fairbairn made a 31-yard field goal. What’s the difference between 31 and 36 yards for an NFL kicker?”

    Well, if you’re Brett “Maybe” Maher it may make all the difference in the world. Yes, I’m still bitter. LOL

  13. When the Texans decided to go for 3 instead of trying to get 1 yard, I knew they probably were not going to win the game. When you have another team down like that, you step on their throat and demoralize them. It’s a Mahomes led team so it doesn’t matter if you are up 50, if there is time on the clock, he has a chance. You can’t rely on field goals against that Chiefs offense. They put up points in bunches and if you don’t strike when you have a chance, you will lose.

  14. I’m not a Bill O’Brien fan, not at all. The dude is such a slave to his own rage that he can’t keep his head on straight in-game.

    But it’s not as if he hasn’t already provided an answer to the question this headline asks.

    To his credit, he basically admitted that they “didn’t have a great play” ready for that situation and therefore, a FG was their only option.

    That he didn’t have it together in crunch time is pretty pathetic. That’s his job.

  15. They need to be looking to replace Romeo. This team has never had the killer instinct. Always have big leads and either barley win or worse lose. They need a HC and DC that when you have your foot on there neck you don’t take the pressure off. Should have gone for it instead of kicking the field goal and not gone for it deep in their end.

  16. DeShaun Watson will consistently carry this team to the playoffs and Bill O’Brian will consistently prevent them from going far. This is a cycle that’s been going on for years so far and will never change. Wise up Texans and change the equation!

  17. Hindsight is always 20/20 – how could he know that the same Chiefs team that was handing the ball over to the Houston Pretenders would catch fire and go seven straight touchdowns? Even given the knowledge that KC and the Sunshine band can ignite with a significant power, even I would not expect KC to pound the Pretenders into a 20 point blowout loss. I figured once the game was 28-24, that the Pretenders would pull their heads out of their bodies and show some backbone. Who knew the Pretenders were go gutless. For three quarters I thought the Baltimore Murdering Blackbirds had shown up for an encore performance. But then again, Lame wasn’t pouting on the bench or yelling into air like a fraud that he is.

  18. The fake punt was a great idea executed so poorly and in such a delayed fashion that it caught no one off guard. Even the announcers said that. To me this game by the Houston Pretenders was about a decent game plan that was doomed by poor execution.

  19. This is why he really isn’t a good coach. He makes poor decisions during the game. They gambled their future for this year by trading their draft picks. They also failed to address their O line properly by not drafting a pro ready lineman.

  20. Had they made that fake punt, all Houston fans would be laughing and having a good time. On the flip side, the Chiefs tried a WR pass with Sammy Watkins when they had a lead. NO one is saying anything about that, but had he thrown an interception trying to force a pass and turned the momentum back around. You would be hearing about it now. Woulda coulda shouda.

  21. charliecharger says:
    January 13, 2020 at 8:12 pm

    O’Brien is not the problem. The Texans rarely, if ever get out-coached.


    The Texans getting out-coached is not just a regular thing, it’s a staple of the franchise.

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