There is probably no fan base in the NFL that holds on to bad calls more than the Las Vegas Raiders’. To this day, fans of the team still talk about the “Immaculate Reception” and the “Tuck Rule.” Well, there’s been another officiating error that will haunt the fans for years to come.
During the Raiders’ Wild Card road matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday, January 15, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow rolled out to the sideline on a third-down play with two minutes to go in the first half. Before stepping out of bounds at the 11-yard line, Burrow passed to receiver Tyler Boyd in the back of the end zone for a touchdown, increasing the Bengals’ lead to 19-6. However, an official blew the whistle before the ball reached Boyd. According to NFL rules, the play should’ve ended there.
NFL rule 7, Section 2, Article 1(m) states: “[W]hen an official sounds the whistle erroneously while the ball is still in play, the ball becomes dead immediately. If the ball is in player possession, the team in possession may elect to put the ball in play where it has been declared dead or to replay the down.”
So, Boyd’s touchdown should’ve been wiped from the scoreboard and third down should’ve been replayed.
Instead, Jerome Boger’s officiating crew awarded the touchdown to the Bengals, who ended up winning 26-19 and knocking the Raiders out of the playoffs. Raiders fans aren’t happy with the outcome, and neither is Hall of Famer Charles Woodson, who played for the Raiders from 1998 to 2005 and again from 2013 to 2015. The former star defensive back said what happened was not fair. He even said the two teams should have to replay the game.
“If you want to know why Raiders fans, Raider Nation, are always p***** off at the league and the officials, it’s because of that call yesterday,” Woodson said Sunday on “NFL on Fox.”
“It seems like we’re always a part of these games. The whistle blows the play dead. Am I correct on that? … Then the play is over. So, really, this is actually a tied ball game right now today. They should go back, take the seven points off the board, and we got to play this game … maybe Wednesday. We can’t keep getting these kinds of calls like that.”
Woodson is the player who forced Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to fumble during the infamous “Tuck Rule” game, during the 2001 AFC Divisional Playoffs. The Raiders also lost that game, so it’s easy to understand why he’d be sensitive to his former team’s being on the wrong end of a bad call.
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Trevon Moehrig Discusses Play
The biggest point of discussion surrounding the controversial play has to revolve around Raiders rookie free safety Trevon Moehrig. He was covering Boyd when the touchdown was caught. After the whistle, it appeared as though he let up in coverage. That said, the whistle came so close before the catch that it’s hard to know for sure whether Moehrig was going to make a play on the ball.
Moehrig wasn’t ready to make excuses.
“I think everybody heard it,” he said during his end-of-season press conference. “But no excuses. Could I have been in a better position to make a play? Yeah, for sure. We were in a scramble drill. Quarterback got outside the pocket and everybody was running around trying to find a guy. Running toward the receiver as the play was going on.
”I heard the whistle and didn’t even see the ball thrown until the receiver jumped up to catch it. I turned around and thought it would be a replay of the down, but you can’t change it.”
Still a Successful Season for Raiders
Heading into the season, not many predicted the Raiders to go 10-7 and make the playoffs. According to CBS Sports, the preseason over/under for the Raiders was seven wins.
Despite their early exit from the playoffs, the Raiders delivered a successful season in their second year in Las Vegas. Given that the team lost its head coach and No. 1 wide receiver in the middle of the season, few would’ve predicted them to make the playoffs. In the end, the Raiders’ season was their best since going 12-4 in 2016, and this trip to the postseason was only their second playoff appearance since losing in the Super Bowl in 2002.