The Oakland Raiders entered Sunday night’s tilt with the Dallas Cowboys with their playoff hopes on the line. A late drive orchestrated by quarterback Derek Carr with less than two minutes to go was on the brink of prolonging hopes of a consecutive postseason appearance.
Then he dropped the ball at the worst possible time, in the worst possible way.
After taking over on their 21-yard line with 1:38 left and down by three, Carr and Co. benefitted from a 55-yard pass interference against Cowboys corner Jourdan Lewis on fourth-and-10, who had his arms around Michael Crabtree during a deep shot down the field.
The Raiders were in business—all they had to do was not turn the ball over, and in the worst-case scenario a chip shot field goal would send the game to overtime.
Then Carr did this.
— NotYourAverageJoe (@ItsJKicks) December 18, 2017
Fumble out of the end zone. Turnover. Touchback. Season all but over because Carr couldn’t just take a new set of downs with 31 seconds left.
The QB was lambasted for the poor decision.
Derek Carr looking to cap off this drive with a game winning touchdown and… pic.twitter.com/RKVqBq270H
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) December 18, 2017
The touchback rule isn’t harsh enough. Derek Carr should be banned from the NFL
— Matt Brown (@MattBrownCFB) December 18, 2017
Derek Carr you utter dumbass
— Danny O’Dwyer (@dannyodwyer) December 18, 2017
Ben Roethlisberger threw a game losing INT during a fake spike?
Derek Carr: “Hold my beer” pic.twitter.com/6uSBKOumXJ
— Tyler Sullivan (@TylerSully) December 18, 2017
At 6-8, the Raiders aren’t mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, but for all intents and purposes, they’re out—with just six slots, eight AFC teams have better records, and all but one hold at least a two-game lead with two games remaining. It’d take a series of fortunate tiebreakers to see the Raiders in the postseason.
“I left it all out there,” Carr said. “I’m just trying to win for my teammates. No excuse, I have to hold on to the ball.”
Or just know that all you needed was a first down.