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Dissecting Titans failed fake field goal that almost ended Brett Kern


Tennessee Titans kick holder Brett Kern (6) is brought down by Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Devin White on a fake field goal play in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/James Kenney)

Mike Vrabel knew it was coming Monday and it came, a barrage of questions about the fake field goal that did not work Sunday against Tampa Bay.

Why so much angst over a trick play? Well, it came with only minutes left and the Titans leading by 4 points and it gave the Bucs the ball with a chance to win the game with a TD instead of just tie it.

Vrabel is very stubborn about the decision, he insists, and I believe that they are simply trying to win the game and they got a “look” they were prepared for and thought they could exploit. It did not work, it failed and if it had been officiated correctly could have very well cost the Titans the game.

While he looked like he would rather be talking about anything but, the series of questions and answers today was actually very informative about the “why” he called it and the “what” he was hoping to accomplish.

First off the Titans only needed 2 yards for a first down, but elected to have the holder (punter Brett Kern) run for it. Know this, when he receives the snap he is 8 yards behind the line of scrimmage, so he needs to cover 10 yards to convert. That’s a long way for a guy who lacks the speed of skill player and the ball carrying experience.

“It really came down to where we were on the field, having the look that we had practiced for that wanted to run it against.” Vrabel said, “So, that decision did not turn out. We didn’t execute. So, we have to continue to move on.”

Did the Titans really not “execute” it though or did they simply not give the defense enough credit? Devin White nearly knocked Brett Kern back to the stone age as he came in unblocked. Why was he unblocked? Because Vrabel said, there were no plans to block a speedy linebacker taken in the top 10 of the 2019 NFL Draft, “Devin White made an absolutely fantastic play. We need to execute it better in order to get it. It didn’t work. There’s 168 snaps in the game, and there were plays that we made and that they’re going to coach, and there’s plays that we didn’t make that we need to coach.”

That would be one that they did not make.

So, next up with a 4 point lead why not simply take the field goal and a 7 point lead? I mean, it likely means overtime with a Bucs TD and if they went for 2 points and a win it would give the Titans defense two chances at a stop and a victory?

Vrabel said it came down to to time. He was hoping the extra first down would burn more time and make the Bucs burn their timeouts.

Vrabel said he knew the scenario he was after, “Two timeouts and hopefully that takes them down there under two (minutes) and we’re able to score, kick the field goal, give them the football with no time and everything else with the situation.”

The Titans did not take any more time off the clock though and did not add any more points to the scoreboard.

The big chair comes with big decisions. Some are completely unavoidable and as we are seeing some are completely unimaginable

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