In an ending that will be talked about for years, the Las Vegas Raiders beat the New England Patriots. A game that held value for both in the playoff race began as a typical Raider game. Josh McDaniels’ squad got out to a big lead and then gave it all up. Sounds familiar, right? Nevertheless, they were able to tie it up late, and then a lateral that boggles the mind ended up in Chandler Jones’ hands. From there, it was all she wrote. Jones had the subsequent run for a game-winning touchdown. There were many surprises, but here are three of the most significant.
Surprise No. 1: Raiders CB Amik Robertson held his ground
The much-maligned corner has been picked on since he arrived in the NFL. The former Louisiana Tech product has been better this year but has still been up and down. In the matchup with New England, he was thrown out there, and he responded well. There was a pass interference call against him that could’ve led to a touchdown but didn’t, thanks in part to a pass deflection by Robertson. In the last drive by the six-time champions, before the chaos ensued, he broke up two passes that prevented the Pats from getting into field-goal territory. He ended with just one tackle, but those three pass breakups were big in the grand scheme of the game.
Surprise No. 2: Keelan Cole’s clutch play
Cole’s first season has been tough. He has been talked about for his bad punt returns and a few key drops. In fact, many wondered if Cole would be inactive with the return of Hunter Renfrow. He was indeed active and played a key role in this victory. He ended up with two catches for 50 yards and one touchdown. His first catch of the game was a 20-yarder on a third-and-nine in the second quarter, which helped lead to a touchdown.
Cole then caught his own touchdown, which ended up tying the game. As most fans are aware, it was a difficult catch, and after replay reviews, it was concluded to be a touchdown. The ruling on the field has been the topic of much debate on social media and television. It has been a down season for Cole, but his two catches in the game will be big if the Raiders somehow end up in the postseason.
Surprise No. 3: Calls actually went the Raiders’ way
We know all about the Raiders’ history with New England. In addition, we also know the history of boneheaded plays going against the Raiders. On Sunday, both went in favor of the Raiders. For fans who have been through it all, we could hear a collective, “It’s about time.”
An incredible catch by Cole that led to a touchdown immediately went for review. More than likely, Raider Nation uttered “here we go” in unison. The difference was that the call was in favor of the Raiders, and a sigh of relief shot out. Then, in an inexplicable game-winning play, Jakobi Meyers threw a lateral across the field to Mac Jones that was snatched by Chandler Jones. No. 55, who proceeded to plant the former Alabama quarterback into the ground and show off the wheels en route to the score. The fans surely had to have realized what they had just seen before celebrating. For once, the Raiders were the beneficiaries of a game-winning play.
*Top Photo: Associated Press Pool