Sunday Night wrap-up: Cowboys escape on Raiders fumble

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On a day of some dubious officiating decisions and ridiculous plays, the Raiders may have taken the cake.

The Cowboys escaped with a 20-17 win over the Raiders, when Raiders quarterback Derek Carr fumbled through the end zone and out of bounds for a touchback.

Considered by some to be the worst rule in football, it was a fitting end to another close loss marred with mistakes for the Raiders.

They were in position to at least tie the game, after getting close on Cowboys cornerback Jourdan Lewis‘ 55-yard pass interference penalty on fourth-and-10. But with a first down in his grasp, Carr decided to dive for the goal line, losing it as he was knocked down by Cowboys safety Jeff Heath.

It moved the Cowboys to 8-6, leaving them with a mathematical chance to make the postseason. But it was a night of strange and unusual plays, and allowed them to get a win on a night Dak Prescott threw a pair of interceptions, and no one did anything of note.

Here are five more things we learned during Sunday Night Football:

1. Things have clearly not gone according to plan for the Raiders this year, but that doesn’t overshadow the work Carr has done in his career so far.

With his third-quarter touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree, Carr joined four guys named Dan Marino, Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson, and Andrew Luck as the only quarterbacks to pass for 100 touchdowns in his first four seasons.

It was his 19th this year, which is a career-low so far, as he approaches the 21 he threw as a rookie.

Perhaps people were fooled by the 60 he threw over the last two seasons, or perhaps he regressed a bit.

2. Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant appeared to make a business decision on Dak Prescott’s first-half interception, which underscores what a rough season he’s had so far.

Bryant’s 63 catches for 771 yards and six touchdowns are decent totals for a complementary receiver, but he’s not being paid like one of those.

It seems like forever ago when he averaged over 90 catches for over 1,300 yards and nearly 14 touchdowns a year over a three-year span, but it was actually just 2012-14.

He’s endured some injuries since then, but he’s never looked like the same dominant player since the days Tony Romo was under center. His 40-yard reception late was just his second reception of more than 20 yards all season.

3. Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is coming back next week, and he’s apparently in great shape.

The Cowboys line might not be.

Left tackle Tyron Smith left the game to get his knee looked at, and didn’t return, leaving Byron Bell to finish the game. That worked better than the last time Smith was out and they allowed the Falcons to get, I think, 172 sacks.

Smith’s dealt with back problems as well this year, raising reasonable concerns about his long-term durability.

4. Neither team is officially eliminated from the playoffs after this result.

Neither team is going to the playoffs, following the league’s trend of postseason turnover.

The bigger question is which one of the legacy franchises is best positioned to return next year. This season raised plenty of questions about the Raiders, after they appeared to be on the verge of stability (except, for, you know, moving to Las Vegas in a few years).

The Cowboys, well, it’s always something with the Cowboys.

5. Never mind debating what is and isn’t a catch.

Do we need a pool report after each game on the content of a ref’s pocket before we know what a first down was?

Gene Steratore putting a folded piece of paper next to the chains to determine a late Cowboys first down was ridiculous by any measure.

What if all he had was a receipt from the sports bar at the Marriott? Or a business card? Is there a standard notebook width that must be considered? Legal pads seem unwieldy, but might be the the thematically appropriate form of stationary.

Yes, this is ridiculous extreme. So is a billion-dollar industry using a decidedly low-tech approach as a set of sticks attached by a chain, especially since neither the sticks nor the chain have been used as advertising platforms.


54 responses to “Sunday Night wrap-up: Cowboys escape on Raiders fumble

  1. Skelator must have got paid by Jerry, that first down call with the card ridiculous! if it was a first down the card would not have fit between the ball and the chain pole, it’s common sense!!!!!!!!!!!!! Fixed

  2. “Derek Carr admits that he’s trying to do too much
    Posted by Mike Florio on December 17, 2017, 7:50 PM EST”

    Case in point tonight. Tuck it up, go out of bounds, and have 4 fresh cracks at the endzone with 31 seconds left…

  3. Watching this as a mostly neutral Lions’ fan, I thought this was the most entertaining game of the week

  4. Gave Dallas a bad spot on Dak’s sneak anyway. If they spotted it right it was first down period. After seeing how the paper “didn’t fit” I’ll even say it was BS and a turnover on downs but seeing the replay and that Dak got the first down anyways makes me not feel so bad

  5. In most of the Raiders losses this year, it was because played a lousy game. But tonight they deserved to win and got jobbed.

  6. The Cowboys better find a QB who can do more than run when he panics. This jerk is a fraud and cannot win games like real QB’s by passing. Running is always the first “gimmick” that is lost through injury and this guy has no game beyond this.

    As for Carr, he deserved what he got. This game was at worst a field goal away from sending it into OT. Run the ball out of bounds, stop the clock and win it legit.

  7. “Skelator must have got paid by Jerry, that first down call with the card ridiculous! if it was a first down the card would not have fit between the ball and the chain pole,”

    …um it didn’t fit – thus a first down…. honestly it was a bad spot to begin with – they shouldn’t have even had to measure.

  8. I have to be a Raiders fan because the wife is, and (curse words) Carr, what are you doing? Take the first down without stretching/fumbling. You had plenty of time to pound it in.

    Dumb and unnecessary. Thanks for ruining my night.

  9. Who cares about the spot I’m mad at the coaching by the raiders. Again why did we go out and get beast mode if we’re down inside the 10 on a 2nd and 2 ……and trying to pass wtf?

  10. Cowboys fan here. Carr definitely fumbled out of the end zone at the end. But the NFL has to get rid of this rule. It is the worst rule in football. The ball should be spotted back where the fumble left the players hands if it goes out of the end zone.

  11. Well, that not actually a first down call complete with a folded piece of paper prop is definitely a new low in the NFL’s make-sure-the-Cowboys-and-their-ratings-get-into-the-playoffs referee policy.

  12. Mascara boy does it again. Carr is the perfect QB for the Raiders, always running his mouth but never getting the job done in crunch time.
    the Chiefs OWN the Raiders, and will dominate them next season.
    Raider fans can sit and watch the Chiefs in the Playoffs while their team rests at home again.

  13. This is reason why the touchback rule is great.

    We go from potential game winning touchdown to game losing fumble really quickly. The problem with the fumble rule is when we have the guy bobble the ball for 1/100th of a second, regain it but he isn’t considered to have regained possession since he didn’t land in bounds.

  14. I am more a Cowboys fan than a Raider fan. That may have been the worst officiated game I have
    ever seen. Many of the calls were inconsistent. The offensive pass interference plays by Oakland were
    crazy. Then either team gets a tricky tacky call of interference. From the start “ Skelatar” as he was referred
    to, seemed to be smiling as if any call he made was a joke. Did you see the one play where Crabtree ran
    at Sean Lee and pushed him …then turned for ball….Dez was also doing same thing,
    If this is the product the NFL is offering …any fan with any sense will just watch college football.
    Just an awful product and the refs were worse.

  15. A couple of things. I think the good coaches have gone over this reaching the ball out after the Chicago- packer game.Chicago got burnt the same way. It wasn’t necessary this time either. You got the first down Carr. It is not like it was 4th down and you had to score. Del Rio and his staff could be fired at the end of the season for underachieving this year. And the officiating in this game and in the NFL is beyond absurd now. It is just rotten. The refs continue to not have a handle on the game. Fans are not going to put up with this much longer. I have almost had it myself. I can watch college football. I think it is a better game today than the NFL just because of the way the NFL calls a game.

  16. Officiating is bad and I’m not talking about the paper first down. Take a look at the replay where Crabtree caught the tying touchdown to make the score 17 all, as Carr rolls out to his right, D Lawrence starts toward Carr, but was held by #66 of the Raiders and there was no holding call. Yet, Bryon Bell when he was in for Tyron Smith, he gets called for holding doing the same thing. The officials are not calling the holding calls for the Cowboys D-linemen.

  17. Dak got the first down, the spot although short was also enough to get the first down…now let’s talk about the Carr lunge, fumble and touch back. What the hell was he thinking? Thank you for saving Cowboys season.

  18. Raider fan here, Carr’s play at the goal line was a fumble period, but the first down call with the index card was down right corrupt! If his stupid card fits between the nose of the football and the first down pole then Dallas is short of the first down plain and simple! Raider Nation join me in boycotting anything NFL except the Raider games of course, that means no Pro bowl, no superbowl no game that the Raider aren’t playing in. The NFL refs have been screwing us for years, and after yet another debacle, it’s time to show the NFL we are no longer going to put up with their blatant shady calls!

  19. I really hate that fumble change of posession rule. I think it should at most be a 5/10 yard penalty.

  20. Review would have confirmed what we all saw from the overhead angle. The ball was well past the line and it was spotted about half a foot or so behind where it should have been.

  21. Fixed? Did Jerry also pay Carr to fumble the ball out of the endzone?

    I understand people hate the Cowboys, but give me a break… if officials were trying to give the game to Dallas, why call that last PI in the first place?

    I don’t have a problem with Steratore using the card to confirm that it was a 1st down, by the way.

  22. The NFL is officially on the level with the WWE with made up scandals, random and inconsistent suspensions and fines. That 4th down measurement was priceless!

  23. billswillalwayssuck says:
    December 18, 2017 at 5:12 am
    First the Immaculate Deception, then the Tuck Rule and now Papergate. The NFL’s anti Raider conspiracy is alive and well.

    Payback for 1976 with Ben Dreith stealing the SB from the Pats.

  24. What a ridiculous finish and I hope Carr wasn’t able to sleep last night. He did not need to take that risk. He had 4 more downs to score from inside the 2 with a game tying FG attempt in his back pocket.

  25. So, prior to this game, Carr admits that he’ trying to do too much and that explains our record. Then tonight with the game on the line, he literally does do too much and single handedly losses the game. On 3rd down, one timeout, and plenty of time on the clock he runs for the pylon, fumbles through the endzone, game over. Hey retard, go out of bounds, kick the FG. This is not the first time you have been in this situation. What have countless coaches told you, if there’s nothing there, throw it away, kick the FG. You are absolutely right, we suck because you are trying to do too much, and you just did it again. What do they say about making the same mistakes and expecting a different outcome?

  26. Man, the whole measuring sticks thing is frustrating anyways. When it comes down to centimeters, imagine the call going the other way. The Cowboys would have felt hosed.

    First – How accurate were the chains placed after the last first down? What if they were off 2-3 inches one way or another from where the nose of the ball was spotted? So really instead of centimeters it could have been either a first down or not by 2-3 whole inches?

    Second – How accurately did they place the chains on the field where they measured? I mean centimeters. If the edge of the post is at say the beginning of the chalk on the 41 yard line,

    Third – What if that chalk is off by a centimeter?

    Fourth – CENTIMETERS. When you are measuring by that much, then you look at all of the other places the chains could have been off by a centimeter or two without anyone being able to notice, how can you have any faith in that process?

    Whether or not we feel the Raiders got hosed, there were plenty of chances before and after that drive to change the game.

  27. Cowboys fan here. It looked to me like Dak had enough for the first down, but the chains were brought in. I don’t understand the paper between the ball though. I don’t agree with the way the first down was given to the Cowboys, and I have never seen that before in any level of the game. The fumble out of the end-zone was a good call (by rule), but I just have to wonder if they would have even needed to try for it at the end if the first down wouldn’t have been awarded to Dallas. Sorry Raider fans, I think you got a raw deal. If it is any consolation, I don’t think Dallas will make the playoffs either.

  28. Worst rule in football? Slow your “rule.” If this rule was not in play, players would lunge toward the pylon (like Carr) hoping that replay gave them forward progress as close as possible to the goal line. No. No. No.
    For years this rule was rarely enforced because players were smart enough to protect the ball near the goal line.

  29. Iknowitall says:
    December 18, 2017 at 12:13 am
    Mascara boy does it again. Carr is the perfect QB for the Raiders, always running his mouth but never getting the job done in crunch time.
    the Chiefs OWN the Raiders, and will dominate them next season.
    Raider fans can sit and watch the Chiefs in the Playoffs while their team rests at home again.

    *lose the 1st game of the playoffs. AGAIN. fixed this for you

  30. Between the goal lines is “disputed” territory. The end zones are “behind enemy lines”, so to speak. If you lose a live ball out of the opponents’ end zone, you deserve to lose possession. Get a smarter QB and a less butthurt opinion.

  31. billswillalwayssuck says:
    December 18, 2017 at 5:12 am

    First the Immaculate Deception, then the Tuck Rule and now Papergate. The NFL’s anti Raider conspiracy is alive and well.


    Also, don’t forget the botched call on the Rob Lytle fumble in the 1977 AFC Championship Game.

  32. @Lemmy: It was roughing the passer in 1976 and it was a fumble when Woodson hit Brady.

    I may have been born in ‘75, but I’ve seen the play.

  33. If Anthony Brown didn’t have hands of stone that game was over long before the last few seconds. Also if the dumb ref who had the yard stick would have stood it up straight instead of on an angle, then the head ref wouldn’t have needed the piece of paper as it would have been a 1st down no problem, stop crying Faider fans!

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