The Houston Texans were facing a fourth-and-3 from the Indianapolis Colts’ 49-yard line with 26 seconds left in overtime.
Rather than go for it on fourth down, coach Lovie Smith sent punter Cam Johnston and the punt unit on to boot the ball back to the Colts, who would end up getting pinned at their own 7-yard line and minimal time to get off their own game-winning field goal attempt.
Smith told reporters after the 20-20 tie that he believed the correct move was to try for a stalemate rather than allow the Colts another opportunity to win the game.
“Because I felt like a tie was better than a loss in that situation,” Smith said. “It’s a decision that you make. If you would guarantee that we were going to get it, then it was good. But if you miss it right there and they had stuffed us on the play, they have one play and they’re in position.”
Even though the Texans defense generated two takeaways on the afternoon and dropped quarterback Matt Ryan for two sacks, Smith knew they had bent long enough for five periods and were about to break.
Said Smith: “It’s not like we were playing our best defense at the time. We were drained. We were gassed a little bit. That’s how it goes.”
One indicator was running back Jonathan Taylor. The Colts’ rusher had 31 carries for 161 yards and a touchdown. Ryan had already amassed 352 passing yards and receiver Michael Pittman caught nine passes for 121 yards and a score.
“In an ideal world, you don’t want a loss, you want a win, but if you can’t get the win, sometimes you settle for the tie,” said Smith. “A lot of football left to go in the season.”
The Texans sustained their first tie in franchise history.
Story originally appeared on Texans Wire