Many are crediting the Texans' failed fake punt in the second quarter for opening the floodgates that led to the Chiefs' wild come-from-behind win in Sunday's AFC divisional playoff game. But WFAN's Boomer Esiason was defending Houston coach Bill O'Brien's decision Monday morning.
The controversial play came with 8:32 remaining in the second quarter. The Texans had seen their 24-0 lead cut to 24-7 moments earlier. O'Brien called the fake on fourth-and-4 from Houston's 31-yard line, with the Texans directly snapping the ball to upback Justin Reid, who was stopped for a gain of 2 yards by Daniel Sorensen.
Three plays later, the Chiefs scored another touchdown to shave the Texans' lead to 10 points and then went on to win the game 51-31.
"To me, that's the play that started the momentum, and that's the play that Bill O'Brien now is responding to (with the fake punt)," Esiason said. "He's on the sideline. He's there. He's been around a long time. He knows who his defense is, and he knows he's not playing against Josh Allen. He's playing against Patrick Mahomes, and he knows that Patrick Mahomes has got a bunch of unbelievable players he's on the field with, including Travis Kelce."
But Boomer's co-host, Gregg Giannotti, said the fake punt felt like a panic move.
"I felt at that point you gave them everything they needed to complete the comeback with the fake punt," Gio said. "I don't know, I didn't like it at the time. This is not a second guess, the fact that he didn't get it. It was sort of like, 'I can't believe they're going to do this.'
"There was no way to stop that tsunami yesterday. There just wasn't," he later added. "But I believe that he helped it in a way."
"I know you believe he fueled it," Esiason responded. "I believe he tried to stop it, and by trying to stop it, yes, it helped. Yes, there's no question about that. But I understand why he did what he did."