Mike Vrabel wouldn't second-guess the 2-point conversion attempt, but I will

LONDON – Going for it paid off huge against the Eagles. The Titans could have attempted a field goal for a tie, but risked a loss on fourth down in order to get in position for a glorious overtime win.

At Wembley Stadium they were in position likely to force overtime with a PAT, but instead went for a 2-point conversion. And when they missed it and got a second chance thanks to a penalty, they tried it again and missed it again, absorbing a 20-19 loss.IMG 6112 1

Thus they return to Nashville at 3-4, holders of a three-game losing streak heading into a bye.

Mike Vrabel said he wouldn’t second-guess it, that doing so is a job for those of us asking the questions. And so I am happy to oblige.

It was too long a slog to get to a likely overtime to put it all on one play, especially when passes to Tajae Sharpe and Taywan Taylor were the selections in going for the win.

The second play had no chance in terms of connecting with Taylor.

You can see clean versions of both tries here.

Why not run it?

"I think from where I was they walked everybody up in there and showed blitz and popped out," Vrabel said. "So, it probably wouldn't have looked real enticing."

What’s the case for extending the game the way I would have preferred?

The defense had settled down and held the Chargers to punt, field goal, punt on their final three possessions of regulation while the offense had countered with touchdown, punt, missed field goal and the touchdown that provided the PAT vs. 2-point conversion.MDILogo2

Having faith in the 2-point conversion attempt isn’t far different from having faith in an ability to drive the ball, particularly if there would have been a kickoff return involved as Darius Jennings had a very nice 31.2-yard average on five chances. The Titans were finally running the ball, being who they want to be with 16 carries for 102 yards in the second half.

So keep going.

But Vrabel had told the team if there were less than 40 seconds left when it scored, it would go for 2. One consideration was that Corey Levin was already playing for starting left guard Quinton Spain and Dennis Kelly had replaced starting right guard Josh Kline. That wasn't ideal for a long offensive series or more.

“We wanted to win the game we wanted to go out there and win the game," Vrabel said. "Just a few short weeks ago it was great, and now it’s not so great. And so we’re going to get back to work and we’re going to improve.”

Choosing the one-play option says “We are confident we can win this one play” but it also says “We do not think we can hold for 35 seconds and win in 10 minutes or fewer.”

And it’s completely reasonable for you to be disappointed in that.

Being aggressive doesn’t demand you’re aggressive every time, and while I know you’ve technically got a 50-50 chance each time you’re also probably not going to stack repeated successes in high-risk, one-play, for-it-all situations.

Every guy in the locker room loved it. Of course, they have their coach’s back, one. Of course, they like the killer mentality, two.

But as measured as Vrabel generally is, he’s a little more player than coach here with the “Let’s do it” charge, I feel.

And sure, if they make it, it’s a great choice. But they didn’t. So a double standard abounds. He knows it’s coming. He took the applause after the Philly win, he’ll take what comes after the Los Angeles’ loss too.

It shouldn’t have come down to that, frankly, though that’s a famous cliché.


The Titans gave up two monster plays in the first half.

Tennessee needed 11 plays to drive to a field goal on the first possession, then Philip Rivers turned Logan Ryan around on the Chargers’ first snap, hitting Tyrell Williams with a 75-yard TD strike.

“I just didn’t do my job,” Ryan said. “I was trying to make a play, and I think Rivers saw me sitting down and pumped me and threw it deep. That’s my job. And I’ve been doing a good job of that this year but I let the team down on that one.”

Kendrick Lewis took a turn in the third quarter, getting burnes by Mike Williams, who ran past him to collect an easy 55-yard scoring pass.

And the offense missed good chances to cut into the lead. On the second-to-last Titans’ drive, I saw alligator arms on a good throw for a good gain to Taylor on a first-and-10 from near midfield. And Corey Davis killed the drive on third-and-7 from the Chargers’ 33, extending only one hand and looking very casual as he dropped what looked to be a simple catch of a good throw.

“It just got on me quick so I just reached out with one hand, that’s kind of my reaction,” Davis said. “I know I’ve got to go up with two, make those plays. I expect myself to make those plays. It was my fault.”

Why was it on him quick? It wasn't early. How is he not ready for it and why now? Why are we asking these questions about the fifth pick in the drat in the seventh game of his second season?

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Hearing guys say “My bad” is always good.

But this team simply needs fewer occasions to have guys saying it.

The Titans should be 4-3, minimally, with the Bills game still counting as the real killer.

All is not lost, though it kind of feels like it. The fix-it formula is simple. Get back to limiting the big plays, find more for yourself. Whatever keyed the 5.0 yards per carry against the Chargers, keep doing it.

And don’t go crazy with the aggression.

Not every chance to go for it comes as the right time to go for it

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