The Oakland Raiders fell to the Houston Texans 27-14 to officially end their season. With inexperience at quarterback, a fierce Texans defensive unit; to go right alongside poor officiating, the Texans were able to win this game.
After the Raiders defeated the Texans in Mexico City, it was Houston who appeared to be the victim of questionable officiating calls. This Wild Card game provided a chance for the refs to return the favor.
Late in the fourth quarter the Raiders were able to march down the field and score on a touchdown pass caught by Andre Holmes. The touchdown brought the score to 27-14. The possession prior, however, is what was the difference maker in this game.
Brock Osweiler loaded up and fired the ball to Deandre Hopkins, and the pass fell incomplete. After ball hit the ground, a late flag came in from the opposite side (meaning the ref with the best angle didn’t throw the flag) and the call was pass interference. David Amerson did not hold back with his thoughts on the call saying, "We're out there battling, they're pushing off, they're pushing us, we're battling, we're playing, and all of the calls were one-sided." He also said "He can get away with everything, but as soon as I do anything, they call something.” While adding, “hats off to them, they beat us, but I don't care what nobody says -- it was one-sided.”
The feature image for this article clearly shows Deandre Hopkins extending his arm on David Amerson, which by rule is offensive pass interference. The penalty should have been on Hopkins or it should have been a no call.
The penalty was bad enough that even John Gruden said, “I don’t like that call.” Announcers typically are advised to stray away from comments toward the officials, but even play by play announcer Sean McDonough agreed with the remarks from Gruden. Take away the goal line touchdown that resulted because of the poor call, and the touchdown for the Raiders would have made it a one-score game. That one penalty completely changed the momentum and complexion of the game in favor of the Texans.
Prior to the game Jack Del Rio even said he feels that refs go into games under the notion that the Raiders will commit penalty’s because it’s what they have always done. Since 2002 the Raiders have undergone an absurd of amount head coaching changes, had hundreds of players come and go over the last decade and a half, and even gone through a new owner and management taking over, and refs still seem to have an obvious hatred for the Silver & Black.
When professional broadcasters on the highest level working for ESPN start to notice how the Raiders get slighted year after year, something needs to change. The Raiders have been victimized far too much by officials in post season play. It is now time the NFL hires full-time officials who ref games based on what is taking place in front of them, rather than with the assumption from mistakes that happened over a decade ago.
There was a multitude of other poor calls going against the Raiders, where Connor Cook was hit in the head by Jadeveon Clowney, no calls where Mychal Rivera was obviously hit illegally by the Houston secondary as well as Jonny Holton who was hit illegally then had his face mask grabbed while in the air attempting to make a catch, a missed roughing the punter call, the list goes on and on.
Aside from the refs blatantly providing aid to Houston, the Texans, and their big time players showed up. On the Raiders first offensive play from scrimmage, Jadeveon Clowney nearly intercepted Connor Cooks first pass attempt. Clowney would eventually obtain his first career interception, as he intercepted another screen pass thrown his direction. For the rest of the game, Clowney would torment Connor Cook and the Oakland offensive line, along with Whitney Mercilus. Mercilus was able to bring down Cook twice and had three tackles in the Oakland backfield. The Texans secondary was able to come up big and intercept Connor Cook three different times, and cornerback A.J. Bouye effectively ended the game with his interception in the final seconds.
On offense, Brock Osweiler scored a rushing touchdown and didn’t make mistakes that would have cost his team a victory. Lamar Miller only averaged two yards per carry but tallied over 70 rushing yards and scored the game’s first touchdown. DeAndre Hopkins had a productive day reeling in five passes for over 60 yards and had a receiving touchdown. Hopkins was able to set up his eventual touchdown catch on a rare but beautifully thrown ball from Osweiler where he made the catch while barely tip toeing his feet inbounds.
If Houston wants to be taken serious in the playoffs, Brock Osweiler will need to play better or find a comfy spot on the bench and let Tom Savage regain his spot as the teams signal caller. Osweiler was able to make a few nice throws, but on a consistent basis would display his wildly inaccurate arm. Regardless of who starts at QB, the Texans defense will make either matchup against the Chiefs or Patriots an exciting game to watch. It has been done before, the Ravens in 2000, Buccaneers in 2002, and the Broncos just last year all won a Super Bowl with a subpar quarterback leading the way.
The Raiders will head back to the offseason where Derek Carr and many other teammates will look to get healthy and stronger, while Reggie McKenzie looks to execute once again in the NFL draft and free agent signing period.