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#pounditFriday, October 30, 2020

Rich Gannon criticizes Romeo Crennel, ‘analytics’ for 2-point conversion decision

Romeo Crennel

Rich Gannon took issue with Romeo Crennel over the Houston Texans interim head coach’s decision to go for two points after a touchdown late in the team’s 42-36 loss to the Tennessee Titans in overtime.

Houston was down 21-10 in the third quarter and trailed for much of the game before taking a 23-21 lead. Tennessee responded with a touchdown and 2-point conversion to go up 29-23 in the fourth quarter. The Texans then scored and kicked an extra point to take the lead 30-23. They followed their touchdown with an interception to get the ball back.

The Texans scored again to go up 36-29 with 1:50 left, and that’s when Crennel decided to go for two. Houston failed to convert, meaning their lead remained at seven.

Former NFL MVP Rich Gannon, who was providing analysis for the game on CBS, disagreed with the decision. He said he didn’t understand the “analytics” behind the choice. Instead, the former Raider broke out his old chart that showed under what circumstances going for two is advantageous. His card said that kicking the extra point was advised.

So guess what happened?

Tennessee scored with four seconds left in regulation and only had to kick the extra point to tie the game. They did so successfully and sent the game to OT. The Titans got the ball first in the extra period and won on a Derrick Henry touchdown run.

After the loss, Crennel explained his decision.

“I wanted to go ahead and get the two points. It felt like that would kind of put it out of reach for them. If we’d gotten it, we’d be in much better shape … and then we didn’t perform in overtime and they win the game,” Crennel said.

Crennel’s decision is defensible; he obviously trusted his offense more than his defense and wanted to give his offense a chance to end the game. Plus, even if they didn’t make the 2-point conversion, they still could have won in overtime (though they didn’t).

The decision did not work out, but it wasn’t a moronic call by Crennel.

EdjSports apparently calculates the choices as nearly even in terms of win probabilities, though there is a slight edge to kicking the extra point.

There was nothing egregious about Crennel’s choice, regardless of what Gannon says.

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