Jon Gruden clearly has a hard time letting things go. The Oakland Raiders‘ head coach was fresh off a big win against the Los Angeles Chargers, but he still couldn’t resist throwing the referees under the bus.
“I’m really happy the referee didn’t screw up the clock again at the end of the game,” Gruden said after the game.
The coach is clearly referencing the Week 15 debacle against the Jacksonville Jaguars where the referees apparently forgot how quarterback sliding rules work. It was so bad that the NFL had to call the Raiders to apologize. That didn’t make Gruden feel much better. Because of the bad call, the Raiders lost their last game in Oakland and were booed off the field. It also hurt the team’s chances of getting into the playoffs. Gruden made it clear that he’s not going to forget that call for quite a while.
“It makes me really upset about the call at the end of last week,” Gruden said. “It really does. I’m not going to let that go. The Tuck Rule and that call last week.”
The loss to the Jaguars didn’t have the implications that the “Tuck Rule Game” did, but the wounds are clearly still fresh for Gruden. If the Raiders can sneak into the playoffs, it’s likely the coach will forget about the call altogether.
Jaguars Loss Actually Didn’t Hurt Raiders Playoff Chances Much
While Gruden’s frustration is understandable, the loss to the Jaguars actually didn’t affect the team’s playoff chances much, according to Josh Dubow of the Associated Press.
The only thing that would’ve changed is that the Indianapolis Colts beating Jacksonville in Week 17 wouldn’t be necessary. The Raiders still need loses by the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennesee Titans. Most importantly, they need to beat the Denver Broncos. Things could get really interesting for Oakland on Sunday.
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Good Chance, Not Great Chance
The Raiders need a lot to happen to make their playoff dreams come true, but they certainly aren’t giving up. Gruden hasn’t ruled running back Josh Jacobs yet and that could mean he’s planning to use him for the pivotal final game. Oakland cannot afford to lay an egg in Denver and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow knows it.
“We don’t have a great chance but we got a chance,” Renfrow said after the game. “It’s kind of like [playing] poker and you’ve got the pocket-8’s. So we’re excited but it means nothing if we don’t go take care of business next week.”
The Broncos are only a game behind the Raiders and look rejuvenated since starting rookie quarterback Drew Lock. It’s also going to be at the Broncos’ nice, cold stadium. This win won’t come nearly as easily as the Raiders’ Week 1 game in Oakland. With so much on the line, we’re about to learn a lot about this team. In years past, the Raiders have faltered with the playoffs on the line. Though there is quite a bit out of their control, finishing up the season with a win and 8-8 record could leave the team with a lot of optimism heading into 2020.