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

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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.

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