Lovie Smith on decision to punt late in OT: A tie was better than a potential loss

Indianapolis Colts v Houston Texans
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Lovie Smith didn’t lose his first game as head coach of the Texans, but he didn’t win it either.

The Texans faced a fourth-and-three at the Indianapolis 49 with 26 seconds left in overtime. Smith opted to punt, settling for the 20-20 tie, rather than attempting to get a first down and into position for a potential game-winning field goal.

“There’s a lot of football left to go in the season. It’s kind of as simple as that,” Smith said of his decision, via the Houston Chronicle. “I felt like a tie was better than a potential loss. Defensively, we weren’t really stopping them an awful lot at the end.”

Smith said he briefly considered going for it, but the Texans lost 2 yards on third-and-one at the Indianapolis 47 on the previous play. CBS analyst Tiki Barber questioned the third-down play call.

Smith received criticism postgame from fans and media for not playing to win with his fourth-down decision.

“At the time, it’s not like we were playing our best defense,” Smith said. “We were drained. We were gassed a little bit.”

The Texans hadn’t scored since 7:16 remained in the third quarter when they took a 20-3 lead. They allowed Matt Ryan to lead the Colts to 17 points in the fourth quarter, tying the game with 1:54 left in regulation.

With the Jaguars and Titans losing, the Texans and Colts sit atop the AFC South standings after Week 1.

18 responses to “Lovie Smith on decision to punt late in OT: A tie was better than a potential loss

  1. Only an idiot would think the opponent is likely to score a TD on a Hail Mary if he didn’t make it. Play for the win. These types of decisions always come back to haunt you.

  2. Texans are gonna flirt with a playoff appearance this year. Mills is the real deal. Outplayed a savvy and quality vet in Matt Ryan. Two TD’s, no picks, 98.9 rating to Ryan’s 83.1 rating

  3. Lovie is what he is. Personally I’d rather have seen him swing for the fences win or lose. But he’s always been that way and he’s not changing now….

  4. For those of you who didn’t watch the game. The defense was gassed and the offense couldn’t get rolling. 4th and 3 was a long shot the way the offense was playing the 4th quarter and overtime. Giving Indy the ball back at mid field with 50 seconds left would have been a death nail. A tie for a team everyone predicted to go 0-17 against the a super bowl contender was a better result than most could have hoped for.

  5. Agreed. If they couldn’t convert a 3rd and 1, what arrogance would have them go for it on 4th and 3 at midfield no less?

    Ask the Steelers of a tie was better than a loss when they backed into the playoffs last season.

  6. I believe he was right, the defense was gassed out, they were lucky to be in the game at that moment and they just lost yardage in the last play, if the went for it, and missed it, the colts with time outs could had done some damage and the same who are criticizing him now would be blasting him for no taking the tie.

  7. Fans are pretty stupid, and the announcers make it worse because they’re just as dumb. You’ve been giving up points and just lost yards on a third and short at midfield. Hey, let’s go for it. What do we have to lose in week one like these games don’t count or something. Then, if they didn’t get it, a distinct possibility for how they had been performing on both sides of the ball late in that game, you’re hammering him for it.

  8. A Win is win but tie is better than a loss. The real criticism should be directed at how he allowed the Colts to comeback when leading with such a gap. The way things are going, Texans will need 30 points going into a 4th quarter to win a game.

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