The Big LeadThe Big Lead

The Houston Texans Played Cowardly Football With a 21-Point Lead and Paid the Ultimate Price

Bill O'Brien
Bill O'Brien | Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Houston Texans were destroying the Chiefs in Kansas City, 21-0. They had them on the ropes after a lopsided first quarter. The Chiefs sputtered on offense, gave up a blocked punt and muffed another inside their own 10. The Texans were moving the ball at will. And then, on 4th and 1 from the 24-yard line, they kicked a field goal with 10:58 remaining in the 2nd quarter. It was the decision of a coward and it kick-started the Kansas City comeback.

The Chiefs hadn't come close to stopping the Texans when Houston kicked this cowardly field goal. At the time, Tony Romo thought the Texans should go for it, but seemed to think an injury kept them from running out the correct player personnel for the play they wanted to run. At that point they burned a timeout to keep the field goal from 31 yards out. If they had just taken a delay of game they would have had a 36-yarder, just three yards longer than a standard PAT attempt.

It's good to know that the Texans at least considered going for it on fourth down, but the fact that they could only come up with one play to get one yard when their offense was seemingly unstoppable and Deshaun Watson was on the field isn't a good sign. If they went for it and came up short, they would have still had a 21-point lead, which is three possessions. The field goal kept it a three possession game. Considering the Chiefs went on to score 51, maybe they shouldn't have taken their foot off the gas.

The field goal mistake was compacted on the very next drive when they ran a fake punt from their own 30-yard-line following the Chiefs' first touchdown. The crowd, which had been booing and leaving early literally minutes earlier, was now fully engaged. Three plays later the Texans' lead was down to 24-14. By the end of the half the Chiefs had the lead.

If you believe in momentum, the Texans had to go for it. If you believe in math, the Texans had to go for it. The Chiefs had the fifth-highest scoring offense in the NFL this season. The Chiefs scored 24 or fewer points just four times this season. They scored 24, 23, 23, and 19. They were always going to score. They were always going to get back to 24. They ended up getting 51. And it started the minute the Texans lined up for that field goal.