The Tennessee Titans entered Saturday night’s playoff game against the New England Patriots as 14-point underdogs, and trailed the Patriots by 14 when the Titans had 4th-and-1 at New England’s 46 with 25 seconds left in the first half.
Tennessee had one timeout remaining, which figured to be crucial in order to at least get into closer field goal range, and ideally score a touchdown. The clock was stopped after Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota ran for nine yards and got out of bounds on the previous play, but the Titans took too long to break the huddle and had to burn their final timeout.
The sequence led to befuddled CBS color commentator Tony Romo asking, “What is going on?”
So now the Titans had no timeouts to work with, while still being out of field goal range. And again, you’d ideally like to be aggressive and shoot for seven points here to get within one touchdown (against the clearly better team), rather than settling for a field goal to get within 11 points.
But you’d think that with this timeout, Mike Mularkey and the Titans would at least be able to set up a good play. Well, that’s not what happened.
The Titans ran a slow-developing run play with Derrick Henry, in which he tried to bounce outside after several Patriots defenders were already in the backfield, and lost five yards.
Tony Romo (correctly) asked and yelled, “What are they doing? What are they doing? I do not understand that at all.”
And as Romo went on to explain, even if the Titans were able to get the first down with that run play, they’re likely still out of field goal range with no timeouts left and little time left on the clock.
Just terrible clock management and playcalling by the Titans, and a very good job by Romo to call it out.