At the very least, it looked like the Indianapolis Colts would emerge with a tie Sunday.
But Frank Reich is a gambling man.
After storming back from an 18-point deficit to force overtime against the Houston Texans and trading field goals in the extra period, the Colts faced a fourth-and-4 from their own 43-yard line with 27 seconds remaining.
Yes, a punt would have been playing to tie. No one likes tying. But going for it — and failing — would have put the Texans in prime position for a game-winning field goal.
And that’s exactly what happened: Reich opted to go for it, and Andrew Luck’s pass to Chester Rogers fell incomplete. Two plays later, Houston’s Ka’imi Fairbairn drilled a 37-yarder to hand Indy a brutal 37-34 loss.
So, what exactly was Reich thinking going for it on fourth down?
“I’ll address it now: I’m not playing to tie,” the Colts head coach said after the game, via ESPN. “I’ll do that 10 times out of 10. That’s just the way it’s got to roll.
“I think that’s who we’re going to be as a team; we’re going to be aggressive. That’s a mindset that we have. That’s the only way to win in this league, I think.”
Unfortunately for Reich, that’s also a good way to lose. The Colts took heat on social media for the sequence, with some referencing the famously horrendous fake punt Indy attempted against the New England Patriots.
Of course, you could argue Reich made the right call: By punting, he’s virtually eliminating the chance of a win, while a successful conversion by Luck — who threw for 464 yards and four touchdowns — could have led to a game-winning field goal.
Reich’s detractors carried the day after Houston’s win, however, as Indy now is in a very tough spot: The team sits at 1-3 and has to play the Patriots on the road on Thursday night.
Thumbnail photo via Trevor Ruszkowski/USA TODAY Sports Images