Boomer And Gio Debate Texans' Fake-Punt Call Vs. Chiefs


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. 

"I know all the criticisms out there for Bill O'Brien, and 'Deshaun Watson deserves a better coach,'" Esiason said on Monday's "Boomer and Gio" show. "You know, I hear so many stupid things. ... He is trying to do everything he possibly can to now gain momentum back on his side. And a fake punt -- if Reid can break a Sorensen tackle, he's running for 20 yards down the sideline."

The Texans' Justin Reid is tackled by the Chiefs' Daniel Sorensen on a fake punt during the second quarter in their AFC divisional playoff game on Jan. 12, 2020, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Esiason said the real turning point of the game was Mecole Hardman's 58-yard kickoff return to the Texans' 42-yard line. The play, which followed the field goal that gave the Texans their 24-0 lead, helped set up Kansas City's first touchdown.

"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."