Bill O'Brien Lit One of His Challenges on Fire, Could Get Burned

Kyle Koster
Bill O'Brien up to his old tricks?
Bill O'Brien up to his old tricks? / Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills wasted no time punching the Houston Texans in the mouth with an opening drive fueled by Josh Allen's legs and receiving hands. The home team's first drive stalled out on the Bills' 38-yard line when Deshaun Watson's pass to DeAndre Hopkins fell incomplete. Perhaps influenced by his wideout's insistence, Houston coach Bill O'Brien threw his pass interference red flag.

Predictably, he lost. It seemed doomed from the start, especially to anyone who watched any regular season football this year. The PI has to border on Shane Stant-Nancy Kerrigan territory to materialize from a non-call.

It wasn't a great decision. It becomes even harder to stomach with O'Brien's decision to punt instead of going for it on 4th-and-8. For what it's worth, the Texans' defense held and got a stop on the subsequent drive, setting up decent field position for Watson & Co.

Losing a first-half timeout isn't the end of the world, of course, but burning a challenge so willy-nilly in a playoff game is just asking for trouble. O'Brien doesn't have the best reputation for game-management stuff like this so the pile-on will likely be more severe than it would with a replacement coach.

There's plenty of game left. Yet it felt, in the moment, like a big moment in the game and an unforced error.