In Mexico City on Monday night, the Raiders had a chance to gain separation from the rest of the AFC West. The Texans had a chance to take a two-game lead in the AFC South. The Raiders capitalized on the chance, handing the Texans a 27-20 loss.
Without some help from the officials, though, the Raider win probably would’ve never materialized.
The officiating woes date back to the first quarter. On the opening drive of the game, Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler hit DeAndrew Hopkins for a 24-yard gain to the Raiders’ 36-yard line. It should’ve been a touchdown.
As Hopkins sprinted down the sideline into open space — there was nobody to stop him short of the end zone — an official blew his whistle to stop the play, signaling that Hopkins stepped out of bounds.
He probably didn’t step out:
A review couldn’t fixed the mistake, but the play wasn’t reviewable. And that’s the main takeaway from the first mistake: The officials should’ve let the play unfold so that an automatic review after a scoring play would’ve determined that Hopkins did not step out. They didn’t do that. As a result, the Texans’ fantastic opening drive resulted in three points, not seven.
And then there’s what happened in the fourth quarter. With the score knotted up at 20-20, the Texans drove down the field. On third-and-2 from the Raiders’ 16-yard line, the Texans handed the ball to Lamar Miller, who was pushed out of play at the first-down marker. To everyone with a pair of eyeballs, Miller certainly appeared to pick up the necessary yardage to move the sticks.
After a measurement, the officials deemed Miller a few inches short of the line to gain.
Texans coach Bill O’Brien didn’t challenge the spot. He also didn’t send out his kicking team. He decided to go for it.
He appeared to get that first down with a handoff to Akeem Hunt up the gut. Again, the officials brought out the chains to measure the spot.
He was short, even though he appeared to pick up the few inches he needed.
This time, O’Brien challenged the pot, but the play was upheld.
The Raiders scored five plays later. It ended up being the game-winning touchdown.
More takeaways come.