David Culley had one of the most ‘cowardly’ punts in years
David Culley did not receive a nice distinction regarding one of his decisions to punt on Thursday night.
Culley is in his first season as the head coach of the Houston Texans. His team lost 24-9 at home to the Carolina Panthers.
The game was actually close at halftime at 7-6. Houston got the ball to start the third quarter and drove into Carolina territory. They ultimately had a 4th-and-4 at the Carolina 39 but decided to punt. They took a delay of game penalty first before punting.
The “surrender index,” which tracks and evaluates whether teams should go for it, rated the decision as among the most cowardly punts since 1999.
HOU decided to punt to CAR from the CAR 39* on 4th & 4* with 10:44 remaining in the 3rd while losing 6 to 7.
With a Surrender Index of 47.03, this punt ranks at the 99.6th percentile of cowardly punts of the 2021 season, and the 99.1st percentile of all punts since 1999.
— Surrender Index 90 (@surrender_idx90) September 24, 2021
That’s not nice.
However, there should be more context to this decision.
The Texans are playing with Davis Mills as their quarterback. He is a rookie and had just thrown five straight incompletions. That probably didn’t inspire much faith in Culley.
On the other hand, you play to win the game, as Herman Edwards says. If you’re trying to win, taking a chance on that 4th-and-4 play was probably the way to go.
The Texans beat the Jags in Week 1. We don’t expect them to win many more games the rest of the season, certainly not with Mills at QB.