Lovie Smith cites ‘gassed’ defense as reason Texans played for tie vs. Colts: ‘Better than a potential loss’

Houston Texans coach Lovie Smith decided a 20-20 tie was better than a loss in the season opener against the Indianapolis Colts.

Facing a fourth-and-3 at midfield with 26 seconds remaining in overtime, Smith elected to punt the ball instead of playing for the win. The coach said his tired defense was the main reason for the decision.

“There’s a lot of football left to go in the season. It’s kind of as simple as that,” Smith said of the call to punt, via the Houston Chronicle. “I felt like a tie was better than a potential loss. Defensively, we weren’t really stopping them an awful lot at the end.”

Smith noted that he considered going for it on fourth down, but after Rex Burkhead was stuffed for a 2-yard loss on third-and-1 the previous play, he felt the Colts could get into scoring position if Houston failed to convert.

“At the time, it’s not like we were playing our best defense,” Smith said. “We were drained. We were gassed a little bit.”

The Texans built a 20-3 lead midway through the third quarter before Jonathan Taylor and the Colts stormed back to score 17 fourth-quarter points to force OT.

Houston’s D surrendered 517 total yards to Matt Ryan and the Indy offense, with Taylor generating 161 rushing yards and a score on 31 attempts. The Texans got off to a hot start, with Davis Mills connecting on two touchdown passes to new tight end O.J. Howard to help build their lead. But the defense couldn’t hold it.

The Houston-Indy tie, coupled with losses by Tennessee and Jacksonville, means the AFC South currently sits at 0-2-2 after Week 1.

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