With just under five minutes left in Thursday's 30-28 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher had a decision to make.
Should have go for a fourth-and-1 from his own 34 yard line and try to extend a drive that might have given the Titans – then trailing 27-21 – the lead.
Or should he punt the football back to Peyton Manning and hope his much-maligned defense could keep the Colts from scoring again.
Fisher elected to punt, much to the less-than-capacity crowd's displeasure, and the move backfired minutes later when three different Titans missed tackles on receiver Pierre Garcon, who turned a little dump off pass into a 43-yard gain, one that led to Adam Vinatieri's 47-yard field goal that put the game out of reach with 2:55 to play.
“It was fourth-and-1, and the ball is on the 30-yard line and I had three timeouts, and there was 4:57 when I looked up at the clock. And I thought we needed to have the ball last to beat them,” Fisher said. “We had three timeouts, and they had been running the ball, and we have a second-and-10, and we can't make a tackle on a slant.”
Titans players didn't question Fisher on the matter, but some probably would have liked to have gambled on the fourth-down play, especially in hindsight.
“I think I would've (gone for it), but if we wouldn't have got it, then they would have had great field position,” running back Chris Johnson said. “So, if he calls it, and we make it, it's a great call. But if he calls it and we miss it, then it's a dumb call.”
The players who were asked agreed with the call to punt the football.
“That's not our decision. We're there to run whatever play is called,” tackle Michael Roos said. “Somebody else is making the decision. In my opinion, that's still the right call. You can't give Peyton the ball that close to the end zone (if you don't make it).”