Texans, Bill O'Brien allow Chiefs back into game with failed fake punt, conservative field goal

Yahoo Sports

The Houston Texans stunned the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, racing out to a 21-0 first quarter lead at Arrowhead Stadium.

Then the game turned on a dime as Kansas City rallied for a 51-31 win to advance to the AFC championship.

The Texans had an opportunity to step on the Chiefs’ throats, facing fourth and a short yard at the Kansas City 13 early in the second quarter. A touchdown on the drive would give them a 28-0 lead.

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Bill O’Brien balks

Head coach Bill O’Brien appeared to take the aggressive tack, keeping his offense out on the field to go for the first down. But the Texans didn’t get a play ready on time and burned a timeout as the play clock wound down.

Did they do so to make sure they had the correct setup for the pivotal play? No, they sent out the field goal unit instead.

Not only did the Texans waste a timeout, but they did so to kick a chip shot field goal, which Ka'imi Fairbairn sent through the uprights for a three-possession lead instead of four.

A pair of pivotal decisions by Bill O'Brien shifted the momentum of Sunday's AFC playoff game. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
A pair of pivotal decisions by Bill O'Brien shifted the momentum of Sunday's AFC playoff game. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

‘Very fair question’

“I felt like I had a first down there and when I didn't, I just felt like we didn't have a great play there for the fourth down at that point and time,” O'Brien told reporters postgame. “So, I felt like it was better to kick the three but that's a very fair question. I felt like it was just better to kick the field goal there.”

Where O’Brien balked at the aggressive move in field-goal range, he more than made up for it on Houston’s next possession.

After Kansas City responded with a touchdown, the Texans found themselves facing fourth and four on their own 31. O’Brien sent the punt unit out.

Now you get aggressive?

But instead of snapping the ball to punter Bryan Anger, long snapper Jon Weeks delivered the ball to safety Justin Reid, who was lined up in the backfield. Reid ran to the right and was drilled by Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen short of the first down.

The Chiefs took over on downs and scored a touchdown three plays later to cut their deficit to 24-14. What minutes prior looked like disaster for the No. 2 seed in the AFC was all of the sudden a game again.

And O’Brien appeared to choose the wrong time to get aggressive.

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