January 21, 2018

A Very Costly Fumble

The Dallas Cowboys made their way out to Oakland for a Sunday night game against the Raiders.  Both teams were still alive for a possible playoff appearance and this was indeed a big game.  The Cowboys got the ball first and put together a nice drive until Prescott was picked off by Smith at the Oakland 22-yard line.  He returned the ball to the 30.  That was a nice play, but the Raider offense went three and out.  That’s no surprise.  They suck.

The Cowboys would kick a field goal and Rod Smith scored on a one-yard carry.  The Raiders couldn’t get out of their own way throughout the entire first half.  Once again, the only player that looked like he knew what he was doing was Lynch.  With a little over three minutes to go in the half, the Raiders managed to get the ball moving into Dallas territory.  On first down from the 11, Carr found Cook in the end zone.  But it didn’t count because the zebras flagged Cook for offensive pass interference.  That was NOT interference.  But head zebra Gene Steratore had a broad smile on his face as he announced the call.  He really looked like he was enjoying himself on a cool night in Oakland.  With time running short, Tavecchio was brought into the game for a 39-year field goal attempt.  It sailed over the left goalpost and was ruled no good.  Just like last week, the Raiders put up a big goose egg in the first half.

Things got off to a great start in the second half.  Patterson fielded the kickoff and ran it back 100 yards for a touchdown.  That’s just what they needed to get back on track.  But the joy was short lived as the play was called back due to a holding call.  I just shook my head and screamed “How much is Jerry Jones paying you guys to screw the Raiders?”  Still, the Raiders overcame that penalty and marched 90 yards for a touchdown.  Carr even got his legs working on this drive and scrambled for a gain of 32 yards.  Where has that been all year, Carr?  I know you’re no Michael Vick, but you have the ability to make plays if your receivers are covered.  The drive was capped off with a two-yard pass to Crabtree.

The Cowboys started their next drive deep in their own territory.  On third and long, Prescott looked for Cole Beasley on the left side.  He was hit as he threw the pass and the ball was picked off by Smith.  He regained his footing and ran it back for a touchdown.  But replay showed that Beasley had touched Smith down at the 22.  Still, 22 yards isn’t far to go to take the lead is it?  For the Raiders it is.  Three plays gained one yard and this time, Tavecchio made his 39-yard attempt.  The score was tied 10-10 mid-way through the third quarter.

The Raider defense stepped it up and forced the Cowboys to punt from their 24-yard line.  There would be no punt.  Chris Jones took the snap and ran up the right side for a gain of 24 yards.  That gave the Cowboys new life and Prescott took it in from five yards out to give the Cowboys a 17-10 lead.  But the Raiders would come right back and tie it up as Crabtree caught his second touchdown pass of the night.

This is where things got really disturbing for the Raider Nation.  On third and ten from the 30, Prescott hooked up with Jason Witten.  He was brought down short of the first down marker, but the Cowboy fans…um…I mean zebras ruled that he had attained a first down.  Del Rio challenged the play and it was ruled that Witten was short of the first down.  Instead of punting, the Cowboys decided to go for it.  Prescott took it up the middle and from my viewpoint it was too close to call.  They brought out the chains and it looked like he was a little short.  That’s when Steratore took out a folded index card and placed it between the ball and the stick.  Obviously, if he could fit the card in there, the ball was short and the Raiders would take over at the 39.  No.  That didn’t happen.  Instead, Steratore got a smug smile on his face, looked directly at the Raider bench and signaled a first down for the Cowboys.  I went out of my mind.  I couldn’t believe what I just saw.  To top it off, Prescott went deep for Bryant and the Cowboys had the ball at the Oakland five-yard line.  Three carries by Morris couldn’t get them into the end zone.  Bailey made a 19-yard field goal and the Cowboys led 20-17 with 1:38 to go.

On fourth and ten from the 30, Carr threw deep for Crabtree.  Rookie cornerback Jourdan Lewis was flagged for blatant pass interference and that put the Raiders at the Dallas 15-yard line.  With 31 seconds to go and facing a third and three from the eight, Carr took the snap and couldn’t find an open receiver.  That’s because Crabtree wasn’t on the field.  He was in concussion protocol.  After the game, he said the officials forced him to leave the field.  Carr ran up the right side and dove for the pylon.  As he stretched out his arm, he lost control of the ball and it went through the end zone for a touchback.  That was it.  Game over.  The Cowboys won 20-17.  I sincerely thought Carr was just going to simply get the first down and run another play from the two-yard line.  Instead, he wanted to be the hero.  So, despite the zebras inflicting wound after wound on the Raiders, their biggest wound was self inflicted.

When he was questioned after the game about the index card, Steratore said “I didn’t use the card to make the final decision.  The decision was made visually.  The card was used nothing more than to reaffirm what was already done.  My decision was visually done based on the look from the pole.”  Yeah.  Whatever.  Stick that card and your smug smile straight up your ass, Steratore.  This game was filled with penalty flags.  The Cowboys were flagged seven times for 100 yards and the Raiders were flagged 14 times for 105 yards.  It got to the point where every time the Raiders gained some positive yardage, I had to make sure there wasn’t some idiot throwing a flag.

For the Cowboys, Prescott completed 18 of 27 for 212 yards, two interceptions and one rushing touchdown.  Morris was the leading rusher with 61 yards on 16 carries.  All totaled, the Cowboys rushed for 126 yards on 31 carries.  Witten led the team in receptions with four and Bryant had the most yards with 59.  40 of those yards came on one play.  Sean Lee led the team in solo tackles with four.  Despite the Raiders losing left tackle Donald Penn early in the game, the Cowboys registered zero sacks.

For the Raiders, Carr completed 21 of 38 for 171 yards and two touchdowns.  He also had 47 yards rushing on four carries.  Lynch was the leading rusher with 76 yards on 16 carries.  As a team, the Raiders rushed for 122 yards on 23 carries.  Crabtree led the team in receptions with seven and two touchdowns.  Roberts was the leader in yards with 52.  Once again, NaVorro Bowman played his ass off and led the team in solo tackles with eight.  Mack had another good game as he had five solo tackles, two tackles for a loss and two sacks.

Up next for the Raiders is another night game.  They will be in Philadelphia on Christmas night to take on the Eagles.  I am sure they are thrilled that they have to fly across the country and play in a town that once booed Santa Claus.  Carson Wentz won’t be under center for the Eagles.  He tore his ACL and Nick Foles is now the quarterback.  The last time the Raiders faced Nick Foles, he lit them up with seven touchdown passes.  Until then, take it easy.

Merry Christmas from The Raider Guy

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