Bill O'Brien on pivotal fourth down: I thought we had it

With the game tied at 20 last night, Texans head coach Bill O'Brien made a wise move to go for it on fourth and inches with 6:31 to go.

By every conceivable angle, running back Akeem Hunt seemed to stretch past the unofficial yellow line on television by an elbow. Instead, as Monday Night Football announcer Jon Gruden put it, he was "short by a credit card."

A fired up O'Brien challenged the call but the officials did not overturn the original spot, essentially costing Houston (6-4) the game as the Raiders would go on and score a touchdown to win 27-20.

"I felt like we needed a touchdown there ... we went for it," O'Brien told reporters after the game. "I thought we had it. It looked like it was clear that we had it. So I challenged it. They said we didn't have it. They said the call on the field stands. I don't know."

O'Brien, according to the Monday Night announcing crew, was fired up about this game in meetings all week. He especially did not take kindly to the notion that Houston was the worst 6-3 team in football and looked at beating Oakland as a way to silence critics.

Say what you will about the Texans head coach, but the way he held himself together after the game says a lot about his even-keeled nature. Houston may only be hanging on atop one of the league's worst divisions by a slim margin, but O'Brien seems to be managing a bevy of extraneous factors well. With half his remaining games against divisional opponents (at Colts Dec. 11, vs. Jaguars Dec. 18 and at Titans Jan. 1) destiny is still in his hands -- even if he tried to speed the process up a little bit Monday night.

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