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#pounditThursday, May 19, 2022

Boomer Esiason has strong halftime message for Mike Vrabel, analytics gurus

Boomer Esiason smiling

Boomer Esiason delivered a strong message to Mike Vrabel and analytics folks while speaking at halftime of the Tennessee Titans-Cincinnati Bengals AFC Divisional Round playoff game on Saturday.

The Titans were down 6-0 in the second quarter to the Bengals, who had kicked a pair of field goals early in the game. Tennessee tied it up with a Derrick Henry touchdown run in the second quarter.

Rather than attempt an extra point to take a 7-6 lead, the Titans went for two since they were closer to the goal following a penalty call on Cincinnati. Henry’s rush attempt on the shorter-yardage situation fell short, leaving the game tied at six.

The Titans went into halftime trailing 9-6 and lost 19-16.

At halftime, Esiason took a shot at analytics folks while criticizing the Titans for their decision.

“This goes to all coaches out there. And I don’t want to upset people from MIT, Harvard or Yale. Don’t go for 2 until you have to. That’s my algorithm, and I’m sticking to it,” said Esiason.

There really was no reason to go for two at that point. Maybe Vrabel thought there was an opportunity to steal one more point by going for two, and if they didn’t make it, at worst the game would be tied.

Would it have made much of a difference had they converted? Probably not. The Bengals were the better team and came out hotter. Tennessee’s offense was flat, beginning and ending with Ryan Tannehill’s three interceptions, which cost his team the game.

The failed 2-point conversion was emblematic of bigger problems, such as their inability to execute, rather than a reflection of multiple poor coaching decisions.

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