Ref’s mistake kept Raiders from running last play vs. Chargers

Getty Images

The NFL has acknowledged that a mistake by the replacement officials prevented the Raiders from running one last play at the end of their 22-14 loss to the Chargers.

The game ended with a Chargers punt that took the final few seconds off the clock. The Raiders rushed all 11 players in an attempt to block the punt and didn’t have anyone back to return it, so the Chargers downed it and both teams walked off the field.

But the rules say that when the game ends on a punt, and the punting team is the first to touch the ball, the receiving team has the opportunity to run one more untimed play. NFL V.P. of Officiating Carl Johnson confirmed to Jason Cole of Yahoo that the Raiders should have been given another play. The Chargers downed the ball at the 5-yard line, so the Raiders would have had to score a 95-yard touchdown on that final play, then make a two-point conversion just to send the game into overtime. So it’s extremely unlikely that the mistake affected the outcome of the game. But it was a rule that the replacement officials didn’t know, and that’s a problem.

Also a problem is that neither the Chargers nor the Raiders seemed to know the rule: If the Chargers had known it they presumably wouldn’t have touched the punt, and if the Raiders had known it they presumably would have alerted the officials instead of just walking off the field.

It’s also worth noting that Chargers coach Norv Turner made a clock management mistake just before that punt. When the Chargers recovered an onside kick with 54 seconds left and the Raiders down to two timeouts, all Turner had to do was run three plays on which Philip Rivers takes the snap, scrambles around behind the line of scrimmage for a few seconds and then kneels down, and the Chargers would have run out the clock without needing to punt. Instead Turner called for two handoffs — risking a fumble — before finally having Rivers kneel on third down, when there was too much time left to run the clock all the way down to zero.

So Turner’s clock management error set the stage for the officials to make a clock management error of their own.

66 responses to “Ref’s mistake kept Raiders from running last play vs. Chargers

  1. I’ve never seen this rule enforced. The replacements were more than serviceable in week 1 and they’ll only get better as the weeks move along.

  2. Never mind the refs because they are still learning.


    With the right blocks/breaks McFadden could have taken it the distance.

  3. I doubt anyone knows that rule. They could have called a fair catch on the punt and given Janikowski a chance for a free kick, not that it would have mattered in this game, but that rule is floating around.

  4. Philip Rivers, or a receiver, could have taken the snap and ran through the back of his own endzone taking a safety and running out the clock. This would have resulted in a 22-16 win without giving the ball back.

    I also think the Raiders made a huge mistake not having a speedy returner back for the punt on that last play.

  5. Who cares? If any thing that might have helped the Raiders. Cause 95% of the plays they run end up hurting the Raiders more than helping.

    I’ve never seen a team consistently beat themselves so often for so many years.

    The Raiders actually have a TALENTED roster. Darren McFadden is especially, without those injuries, we would be undoubtedly calling him an elite running back.

    But they just beat themselves. Probably because they’re so young. Including Dennis Allen, their head coach. Their veterans need to step up as leaders.

  6. So there it is. Even with the special teams meltdown we still had a chance to run a hook and lateral to tie the game and convert the subsequent two point conversion.

    It’s a shame. The Chargers got outplayed on offense and defense, but football is a three phase game.

  7. Well Philip taking a snap himself has proven to be a risk for fumble, kneeling was preferable but the only Chargers mistake was not having the punter run backward for 3 seconds (though with all 11 Raiders expecting that and rushing a punt may have been less risky).

  8. Jeez, what a debacle.

    The three tragic punt plays resulted in 3FGs for the bolts (9 pts for charger fan). Assuming the RAIDERS D holds and forces a punt ( the defense played well, more pressure needed on Rivers though, one sack won’t cut it) the RAIDERS win the game.

    The chargers had a chance to blow them out and didn’t do it.

    When the RAIDERS tie up the loose ends and get a couple WRs baxk things will be just fine. Before the UDFA rookie Streater fumbled on the opening drive, the RAIDERS were having their way.

    Sucks we have to wait until Week 17 for another go, but it is what it is.

  9. So all 3 parties involved made mistakes. If we are being fair, shouldn’t the Raiders and the Chargers know the rules since they’ve been in the business longer?

  10. Also a problem is that neither the Chargers nor the Raiders seemed to know the rule: If the Chargers had known it they presumably wouldn’t have touched the punt, and if the Raiders had known it they presumably would have alerted the officials instead of just walking off the field.


    It’s interesting trivia but the question remains, if the old officials had done this would anyone have noticed or cared? Has it happened before and noone has noticed or cared?

    Thank you for pointing out that neither of the coaches knew of this obscure rule also. Presumably neither did the players or announcers.

    I’m sure somewhere Al Michaels is calling for a complete ban of the new refs over this.

  11. While this is definitely a mistake and something to keep in mind, I think you have to categorize it in “so what?”

    There are tons of little rules like this that are neglected. I’m sure that there is a rule somewhere in the NFL rule book that states you can’t have every member of the team and media storm onto the field, but that’s how every game ends when a team takes a knee with 24seconds left.

    Rules should be enforced, definitely, but this is a non issue.

  12. Here’s an idea for all you Raider fans. Instead of blaming the refereeing, how about blaming your own team. You only scored a total of 14 points. And 8 of those points were with less than a minute left. McFadden was shut down all night. You were out played in every aspect of the game. You just aren’t that good.

  13. All these refs ways to communicate with someone in the booth – why isn’t there a few people from the NFL at each game helping these guys with the details of the rule book, which to expect these refs to know every detail is just not reasonable. For situations like the timeout in the Arizona-Seattle game and this one, why not have someone from the NFL (or more than one person), who should know these rules, and they can communicate with the refs and say what the rule says? But to just put these refs who have been put in a terribly tough situation on the field in front of tens of thousands of fans, and not give them any assistance during the game, makes no sense to me.

  14. The Raiders only scored 2 FGs all game! How can they have outplayed anyone? Do you really think that if the game is at all in doubt the Bolts take those 2 penaties on 4th down? I can understand the confusion because the Raiders would actually make those plays in a close game, but no other team would.

  15. The “regular” refs have made that mistake before as well. Do not blame this only on the replacement refs.

  16. This was a game that neither ream can be proud of other than Nate Katting’s kicking. Both teams are not ready for the season and are lucky they didn’t play the Broncos because the Broncos would have beat them both.

  17. why even risk punting in that situation? it made no sense. Just get in the shotgun and have someone run for a second and fall to the ground. that would’ve burned the clock to 0.

  18. The refs did NOT do a good job they
    were terrible in Chicago and worse in Greenbay. Im NOT happy with the job they are doing an the Coaches aint eather. These are not preseason games ANYMORE these idiots are shaping the playoffs right NOW. DO WE REALLY WANT THAT?

  19. Why does that imply that the CHARGERS didn’t know the rule?
    What incentive do they have to speak up and say:
    “Hey, give the Raiders another play” ?

  20. A regular ref improperly ran the last second off the clock in SB XXXVI, preventing the Rams from one last possession. I still do not see the significantly lower quality level from the replacements.

  21. I agree dannymac17
    Raiders kept saying they beat themselves on special teams, NO the Chargers defense beat the Raiders they had to punt so many times because the Defense stopped them and held them to 2 field goals for the first 59 min and 6 seconds not to mention 3 sacks from Shaun Philips and a forced fumble from the rookie Melvin Ingram. Run DMC had 82 rec yards but only 32 yards on the ground. The raiders D sacked Rivers on the first pass attempt but after that nothing, funny how all the Raider fans said Mike Harris would be torn apart by the d-line, that didnt happen. This game should have been a blowout if it wasnt for Norv’s horrible and predictable red zone play calling

  22. Did the Raiders beat themselves? Probably. Dumb penalties on crucial 3rd downs to keep drives going. The way they ended the first half. Not have a capable backup long snapper. If you look at the box score, it was anyone’s game. But it’s only week one, I’m not too worried, yet.

  23. The Raiders did beat themselves. They beat themselves for the next two years the day that they hired Greg Knapp to be O Coordinator.

    He’s been two years and done everywhere he’s been as a O Coordinator. I doubt this would be any exception.

  24. Curious, doesn’t the NFL have people at the games that the Replacements can consult with? This would seem to be a pretty simple function, but are they too dumb to do it?

  25. This isn’t nearly as bad as the Saints-Lions playoff game last year when the Saints knelt on 4th down with 30 seconds left and the clock ran out.

  26. The 2 calls in this game, that happened to be big plays were the punt return by the Chargers in second quarter that got called back for a block in the back. The kid barely touched the defender and the ball went from midfield to the 5. Right after the play they cut to commercial and no replay was shown or commentary regarding the play. And the third quarter Quentin Jammer pass interference call on third and long. I know the guy has a history w that call but that was clean defense and the home team got away twice.

  27. Im was born a raider but this crap is old. “New era of excellence.” They came out looking good and then turnovers and fumbles come back and Dennis Allen looks like a zombie there to enjoy the game no emotion. They started off going vertical and where killing sd d. Then Greg Knapp decideds lets go sideway and run run pass. I thought we were back to art shell days. Turning injury prone Mcfadden into a work horse. GREAT IDEAD Knapp. We cant even get a punt off. Thats yafl stuff. Four times and were losing. Start going for it on fourth. Then they show the sidelines and theres guys laughing just sitting there all bored. Oh but the new greta one Dnnis Allen is still there just enjoying the game well Knapp is still calling checkdowns to Mcfadden on 3rd and 47. I feel bad for Seymour Mcfadden and Palmer good football players stuck in bad spots. Palmer could work more on slowing things audibles and calling blitzes but other than that i think hes a great quaterback. Right now im missing hue and Al Saunders. All wee needed was a d. Coordinator but now thats the worst i have ever seen the raiders play. Good job big reg. Branch was getting lit up Mclain is still lost out there. It was all ugly. Only bright spot i saw was the rookies going all out streater and the linebacker from sd state. Forgot his name. They looked good. Other than that i have prepared for a longggg seassoon. Oh yea this article. It wouldnt have mattered if we got one more play Knapp would have called a run to Mcfadden.

  28. Another brilliant analysis as always…

    If the Raiders, Chargers, announcers and the whole football fan world didn’t know the rule, hard to hold the replacement refs that accountable.

  29. Yeah, those three botched punts because the long snapper got injured had absolutely no effect on the game. Of course the Raiders beat themselves. Anyone who doesn’t understand that starting every drive of the second half deep in opposing territory is a huge advantage, and not being able to effectively punt is a huge disadvantage, doesn’t understand the game of football.

  30. Gee, the new referees were merely looking out for the safety of the players. Such a deperate last second play could have hurt the quarterback and any number of other key players.

    Do you mean the greedy part-timers would have allowed the play to be run, endangering all the personnel on the field? It’s a good thing they’re all sitting at home because the new refs are all for player safety first.

  31. why not with 5 seconds to go just leave Rivers in in punt formation and let him throw it as high and as far as he can ,,time would run out and that would be it …

  32. The NFL has overseers at every game that are supposed to let the replacement refs know if they make a mistake. The NFL missed it too? C’mon stop blaming the replacment refs for everything. They are no worse than the regular refs that want millions in pensions $. NO FREE LUNCH.

  33. I only watched 2 games, the Browns-Eagles, and the Bengals-Ravens. I thought they were OK in the Browns game. IN the Bengals game the were OK, but they made some really bad calls early that effected the game. I expected to see it in print today that the Ravens 2nd TD, a long pass to Boldin, was an incomplete pass. He was in the act of catching the ball when he crossed the plane of the end zone. When he went to the ground the ball moved. I’m not going to pretend that it would’ve changed the outcome of a 44-13 game. But lets keep in mind it was a 10-3 game at that point. That made it 17-3 and half ended at 17-10. But not before the refs tried to cheat the Bengals again. This time a no call on an obvious defensive holding which would’ve moved it from 3rd & 1 on the 6 yd line to 1st and goal on the 3 yd line. Instead we were at 4 & 1 on the 6, Lewis decided to go for it, and BGJE punched in for a TD from 6 yards out. Negating the bad reffing. With about 10 minutes left in the 3rd qtr the score was 17-13. There were also at least 1, and another possible phantom pass interference call early in the game. Now the Bengals imploded and the Ravens exploded from that point, and I paid no attention to what the refs did from that point because the game was out of reach. So am I blaming the loss on the refs? Absolutely not! I blame the Bengals not executing on D and Ravens explosiveness on O. I’m I saying that they effected momentum with 5-6 bad calls/no calls early in the game? Yes I am. The refs effected the game early. One could reasonably say that this would’ve been a 10-10 or 13-10 game at halftime. And they would’ve made it a Bengals lead of 17-10 or 17-13 at that 10 min point of the 3rd qtr. The score dictates what an OC/DC can call. Had this remained a tight game early and the refs had not tipped 4-7 points to the Ravens in the first 20-25 minutes they might have not been quite as aggressive with the play calls. And the Bengals D might have been called much differently too. But in the end the Ravens played great, and the entire 11 man Bengals D decided to bite every time a play action fake to Ray Rice was on. I mean it was ridiculous. They rushed Rice 10 times (2 were draws). THe faked the handoff to him probably more than 10 times. Yet we just kept jumping the run everytime, every player. Naked bootlegs were similar. You know where the whole offense moves left/right and the QB and one receiver will roll out the other direction. What bothered me most, is the backside contain player was never in place. His job is to stay put on plays like that. Didn’t happen. Theirs flowing to the ball, then their is flowing ahead of the ball, and that is always going to get you in trouble. I wouldn’t want to be Zimmer’s players this week. He spoke up for them, defended them, then they came out and laid the golden egg of how to fundamentally not play D. He yells when he’s happy.

  34. When you commit multiple dumb penalties that extend the opposing teams drives and kill your own drives. When you make dumb mistakes like fumbling and losing 25 yards, and turning the ball over. When you cant even get a punt off, 3 times. Yet your defense still had you in the game at the end and statistically beat the opposing team on offense? Yes, you beat yourself.

    Someone above said this should have been a blow out by the Chargers, you’re right. Goes to show what that says about how San Diego will be this year. Time to start printing the Fire Norv shirts now.

  35. The Media keeps wanting us to believe that these refs are worse than the others but so far they’ve about the same number of bad calls. SO if they are doing the same job for less money, why would the NFL want the “professionals” back?
    The Raiders lost because they are the best at inventing new ways to lose.

  36. This is my observation: At the end of the day the Dolts won. At the same time, they didn’t impress me neither! Phillip Rivers had a couple of completions but he didn’t do anything out of the ordinary to put them over the top. Their running game is below average & Rivers is going to have to throw for 300 yards a game for them to win, if he can get it to someone that’s not named “Gates”. Ronnie Brown, LeRon McClain, & that other back got crushed by our front seven. Their defense is in the upper middle tier. For all the hype they (the San Diego media) had on Melvin Ingram, he was a non-factor (other than the roughing the passer penalty) The sacks on Palmer came after we were down & could no longer run (like we could in the first place). Before that, Palmer had the ball out before any Dolt could get remotely close to him. The Donkeys through week 1 is the class of the division w/ the other three teams neck & neck because all have injuries in key areas.

  37. The refs somehow missed a hc tackle right in front of them on McFadden.

    The 15 yards for the penalty would have got the Raiders in FG range and instead they punted.

    Let’s not say the mistakes don’t change games. They change everything.

    Someone in Vegas will push the NFL to make this right with the officials soon, before it costs them million of dollars.

  38. If I were a Raiders fan, I’d be pissed at the replacement long snapper scraggly beard dude! After the first 12 bounce snap to the punter – he should have trotted off the field, picked up a ball, and practiced a bunch of them! Nope, just stood there with a completely clueless look on his chevy chase and led to yet another hop skip and a jump shot back to the punter a bit later.

    As a Charger fan, I’m pissed off at the Raiders because I hate Norv and want him fired!

  39. Rivers clearly knew the rule. He put his helmet back on and was running around trying to get the team together. Maybe he was planning to play linebacker.

  40. The clock was slow to start when the Chargers had the ball after the onside kick. The rep. refs. are missing a lot of little things especially where they mark the ball after plays.

  41. Hey villa41 I agree our offense wasn’t stellar in the Redzone but we drove down the field to get there. And as far as our defense holding you guys to 2 field goals and 1 TD because of a bad PI call on Jammer was pretty good not too mention 5 sacks! But all around a badly officiated game on both sides.

  42. Even as a Raiders fan, the play most likely wouldn’t have mattered. The most significant play in my opinion was the no call on the horse collar tackle on McFadden right in front of the ref. That would have put the Raiders into FG territory (for Janikowski anyways). Instead it lead to a punt. That play definitely killed some momentum and would’ve kept the game a lot closer at that point.

  43. Tough loss for the raiders-officials were fine. Would have been nice to run the last play- very very very unlikely 1. In a 100,000 but certainly the game was not lost there. Tommy Kelly with two bone headed penalties he won’t be long with Reggie mckenzie in charge. Knapp needs to open the offense more. McFadden can’t do it all.

  44. I’m sure when and if the regular officials come back, we’ll have a story about every screwup they commit.

  45. The way I see it, the Bolts played mistake free football, for the most part, and in doing so, won the game.

    My Raiders? Not so much.

  46. You botch 3 punts and cost yourself roughly 120 yards in net field position (given Lechler’s historic net)…in a game decided by 8 points…I’m sure those punts decided the outcome. The refs were ok. They missed the HC on DMC and it was horrible, but the regular refs miss that stuff regularly as well. Palmer actually had a higher rating than Rivers, but the Raiders got in their own way a couple times on 3rd and short (thanks #93…your head is ON the ball and you’re jumping?) and the funble was a complete killer on that 1st drive. The Raiders were really having their way with the Charger D most of the night, but football is a field position game and when you cough up 120 yards of position, you’re gonna lose more often than not. The fact that it was close speaks to how bad the Chargers are.

    The Raider coaches are 100% accountable for not getting the back-up snapper ready as soon as Condo went down. That is a horrible job of attention to detail. The second Condo went down, the back-up should have been doing nothing but practicing snapping. And getting involved in the protection scheme. I credit the Chargers for taking advantage of the new guy by rushing right up the middle. And I fault the Raider coaches for not beefing up protection to cover for a new center. Other than that, the Raider coaches out-coached Norv’s staff.

  47. bottom line , with 5 minutes to go , it was a two score game for the raiders , and they were doing 1 yard, and 5 yard passes, chewing up over 4 minutes of clock…there was no true urgency, no deep passes…etc….I am not sure they even had a clue it was a two score game.

    No problem with the replacements refs….raider had 6 penalties. I can live with that.

  48. The issue with the bad call/s by the refs in this game is really a moot point at this juncture. Even with no ref mistakes, the Raiders shot themselves in the foot… AGAIN. Running one last play would not have made a difference in the outcome of the game.

    It’s not the refs fault that our corners got burned play after play. It’s not the ref’s fault that Carson was playing scared and couldn’t connect on anything past 10 yards. It’s not the refs fault that another Raider player kneed Condo in the head thus bringing in the backup. Missed tackles? Not the Ref’s fault. Open Raiders recievers missed because Carson was scrambling for his life (and couldn’t connect anyway)? Not the ref’s fault. A professional player and team leader jumping offsides TWICE in a row? Not on the refs.

    This loss is SQUARELY on the shoulders of Reggie McKenzie, Dennis Allen and the 53 man roster. Rewatch the game. Take a look at what was going on on the sidelines even as the 11 players on the field were getting their asses handed to them… smiling, joking around, heads not in the game at all. When you are a professional at your job, you take loss personally. I see NONE of that in this roster or with these coaches.

    I’m a disgruntled and disgusted fan after that debacle.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!