In front of a national TV audience, the Oakland Raiders fell to the Dallas Cowboys, 20-17. For a game that felt like a playoff eliminator, the ending disappointed. The Raiders, despite odd circumstances had their chances to win this game. Yet, they failed to secure the victory.
Normally, this award goes to players or coaches. However, this night was all about RaiderNation. If you watched that game, you felt that twinge of anger at what you saw. On the other hand, you also saw Derek Carr find Michael Crabtree twice for scores. For fans of the Raiders, 2017 continues to be a heart-wrenching mess, filled with pain and mistakes. Yet, the diehards keep watching, show up to games and otherwise hold on to hope that a continuation of 2016 will happen next year.
If the phantom OPI on Jared Cook that negated a touchdown was not enough, the officials cost the Raiders. Now, normally, the sign of a great official are those that blend into the fabric of the game. On a crucial fourth down, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott appeared short. The chain gang seemed to confirm this. Yet, referee Gene Steratore took a piece of folder paper from his pocket. With it, he slid the sheet between the ball and the yardmarker. Steratore signaled first down. With the extra downs, Dallas parlayed the conversion into the game winning field goal.
Granted, if Derek Carr does not fumble out of bounds, the game has a different ending. On a day where no one knows what a catch is, this game signifies what is wrong. In essence, the Raiders season boiled down to a piece of detached paper.
The offensive line surrendered zero sacks to Dallas. When Donald Penn’s legs met Kelechi Osemele’s body, fear set in that the pass rush would overwhelm. In contrast, the line played well and Carr suffered a few hits, but stayed mostly vertical. As a result, anyone still claiming the anthem as a stance needs to cease. With controversy swirling all season, the offensive line remains strong.
Essentially, the Raiders season comes to a heartbreaking end. Derek Carr fumbled through the end zone, resulting in a touchback. Although critics will question Carr’s dive, cannot quantify heart. With two games remaining, the Raiders sit at eight losses. Under those circumstances, a .500 record will fall just shy of the postseason. With so many chances tonight, the Raiders failed to capitalize. In reality, the Raiders 2017 ended the way some anticipated.