Maybe Mike Vrabel just wanted to cover the spread.
The Tennessee Titans trailed 16-12 late in the fourth quarter against the New Orleans Saints. On a third-and-12 they picked up 6 yards to get to the Saints' 11-yard line. There are some go-for-it versus field goal calls that are a gray area, but this one was not. The Titans had to go for it.
But Vrabel decided to kick the field goal with 2:20 left in the game. It was odd. That decision cost the Titans nine percentage points of win probability according to ESPN's Turron Davenport.
The Titans kicked a FG down 4 on 4th-and-6 with 2:20 remaining....ESPN Analytics saw that as a massive error:
Win probability go for it: 33%
Win probability kick FG: 24%
— TURRON DAVENPORT (@TDavenport_NFL) September 10, 2023
The Titans hit the field goal, which ended up doing no good other than helping Tennessee bettors. The Saints were -3. When they led 16-12 in the final three minutes, with the Titans deep in New Orleans territory, Saints bettors should have been considering only two scenarios: The Titans score a touchdown and win straight up, or the Saints get a stop and cover.
In almost no situation, other than fourth-and-long, should a field goal and a backdoor cover have ever been in play. But Vrabel decided on a path that cost his team dearly. The Saints got a couple first downs and ran out the clock in a 16-15 win. It was a miserable beat for New Orleans bettors.
The Saints got the win. The Titans got the cover. At least Vrabel has that going for him.