Vrabel discusses the decision give Cairo Santos a fourth field goal attempt

David Boclair

Under normal circumstances, Mike Vrabel’s decision to attempt a 53-yard field goal rather than go for it on fourth-and-4 from the Buffalo 35 with 6:35 remaining Sunday would have been considered the conservative play.

His Tennessee Titans trailed the Buffalo Bills by seven (14-7) and a successful attempt would not have negated the need for a touchdown. It simply would have changed their pursuit of seven from the game-tying to the game-winning points.

These were not normal circumstances, though. It was an absolute gamble given that kicker Cairo Santos already had missed three field goals.

The attempt sailed wide left. The Titans only got the ball once more but got nowhere near the end zone and ultimately fell 14-7. It was their second defeat in as many home games in 2019 and the second time in three contests they were held to a mere seven points.

Santos, signed the first week of the regular season when Ryan Succop was placed on injured reserve due to continuing issues from offseason knee surgery, was 4-for-5 on field goal attempts through the first four weeks. He made one from 53 yards (one yard short of his career-high) in Week 1 at Cleveland and two others from 45 yards or beyond.

The last time he played a full NFL season, 2016 with Kansas City, he missed just four field goal attempts (out of 35) over the course of 16 games.

In addition to the two fourth-quarter misses (the one that was blocked was a 33-yard try), Santos failed to split the uprights from 50 and 36 yards, respectively, in the second quarter. The first missed to the left and the second missed to the right.

The Bills took advantage of the fourth-quarter block and promptly drove to the game-winning touchdown. After the fourth miss they held the ball for 5:16 of the contest’s final 6:31.

Hear Vrabel, in the above video, as he discussed his thinking regarding his kicker during his postgame press conference.

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