Munchak finds success with replay challenges a ... well, challenge

Sunday was the first time Mike Munchak threw his red flag twice.

Never in his first two seasons and two games as head coach had he asked for more than one video review.

He might think twice before he does it again.

Munchak said Monday that the potential for big gains, particularly on the second one, made the risk seem worthwhile. In both cases, he challenged an on-field ruling of an incomplete pass to Nate Washington only to have those rulings confirmed.

The unsuccessful challenges cost him two of his three second-half timeouts in the 20-17 victory over the San Diego Chargers.

The first came with 7:13 to play in the third quarter. On third-and-1 from the San Diego 25 with the score 10-10, Washington hauled in Jake Locker’s pass but lost the handle as he turned upfield and the ball rolled out of bounds.

“I thought I saw that pretty clearly,” Munchak said. “It looked to me like he caught it and made a football move. It looked like his shoulders turned to go up the field and then the ball got swiped. So I saw it live first and thought, ‘Man, it looked like a good catch.’ … And then I asked what they saw upstairs when they saw the replay … and upstairs felt good about it. At that point in the game it just seemed like we needed a play.”

The Titans attempted a 43-yard field goal in the next play, but the kick missed to the right.

With 10:02 to play in the fourth quarter and the Titans behind by seven, 17-10, Munchak gambled that Washington caught the ball with both feet inbounds on a second-and-10 throw deep down the sideline.

“Initially, I [thought] it was too close to challenge,” Munchak said. “… I was sitting there at third-and-10, and that was such a big play I thought the one timeout was worth making sure. We felt we had a shot at that so I went for it.”

They actually converted the third-and-10, and the drive ended eight plays later with a field goal that cut the deficit to four.

Those were his first two challenges of the season and dropped his success rate to 38.5 percent (5-for-13) overall.

In 2012 Munchak made four challenges – three on receptions by opponents (two were reversed) and one on a Locker-to-Damian Williams pass that was ruled incomplete (that one was upheld).

In 2011 he challenged seven rulings and got three reversals, including a 16-yard reception by Lavelle Hawkins that initially was ruled incomplete.