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Aspuria’s Assertions: Patriots Out-Raider-ing The Raiders — It Actually Happened

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d see not only the Las Vegas Raiders being the beneficiaries of a replay review against the New England Patriots, but also the Pats out-Raider-ing the Raiders with an epic boneheaded decision.

But both happened on a wild Sunday afternoon inside Allegiant Stadium. And the byproduct of the hellacious ending of the Raiders’ 30-24 RKO out of nowhere type win is this: Chandler Jones is granted absolution.

Three things I didn’t think were possible became realities. I’d describe the sequence of events to you, but it’s best seen to be believed.

The laterals

First came the unbelievable series of laterals. That in itself is unfathomable. That’s especially true for a normally disciplined team led by Bill Belichick. The mistake of all mistakes is something that’s more likely to come from Josh McDaniels’ squad. Tell me I’m wrong.

There was no need to even throw the ball around like a hot potato. Well, mostly because the game was tied at 24 apiece. Did they forget that overtime was right there to be played? But the Patriots said FOH to that. What followed was a truly Shakespearean tragedy of events for the New England faithful. All the while, a raucous Raider Nation was treated to the truly tantalizing spectacle of a lateral landing right in the mitts of a waiting Jones, who was only back there because he whiffed on a tackle at the play’s onset. Then came the stiffest of stiff arms that Chandler Jones delivered to his distant cousin Mac Jones before a mad sprint to the end zone to win the football game.

The gaffe was so bad that even Belichick sounded like a jaded McDaniels after his Raiders suffered some embarrassing defeats. “We talk about situational football,” Belichick said. “We talk about it every week, but we obviously have to do a better job playing situational football and not making critical mistakes.”

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

I mean, come on. Not even WWE or AEW script writers could have written a more whimsical ending. I know the NFL owes the Raiders for that Tuck Rule game, but this one, the jubilation Raider Nation felt and the louder they got as Chandler Jones’ approached the end zone for the game-winner as time expired — this takes the cake. That final sequence, along with Raiders wide receiver Keelan Cole being ruled in-bounds for the eventual game-tying 30-yard touchdown the series before the fateful laterals of doom, has to be leaving Patriots fans feeling like the league has diabolical intentions to screw their squad out of a win.

Wasn’t Raiders DC Patrick Graham getting lambasted recently?

(Before I get into the specifics of that play, wasn’t the Raiders’ Patrick Graham lambasted for leaving undrafted free agent cornerback Sam Webb on an island without safety help over the top against the Los Angeles Rams? Is there going to be a similar backlash for Belichick for leaving Marcus Jones on a similar island with no safety help against Cole on that touchdown, or nah?

Replay, still images, and even photos from fans from the game show Cole’s foot eerily close to the white line, indicating out of bounds. Shoot, one picture in particular showed the white paint coming up as his foot was on the line. But, no dice.

It was called a touchdown on the field, and there wasn’t indisputable evidence to overturn the call. I agree with the officials when they say that had it been ruled incomplete, a replay wouldn’t have overturned that call either.

You see that, New England fans? That’s the kind of madness that Raider Nation is used to. That mental lapse is a patented Silver and Black thing, and it’s wild when a well-run organization like the Patriots does it.

Raiders QB Derek Carr’s reaction says it all

Just look at Raiders quarterback Derek Carr’s reaction on the sideline as the final sequence played out:

My friends, that’s legitimate shock and pure excitement on display, right there. Just listen to the tone of DC4’s voice as it hits a different volume when he yells out quarterback coach Bo Hardegree’s name.

What’s also not up for debate was the presence, then absence, and sudden re-emergence of complementary Raiders football in the victory over the Patriots. Offense, defense, and special teams came together well to generate a 17-3 lead before halftime, but for much of the second half, the offense decided to take a siesta while the defense clung to life before breaking down. That was some John Cena “You Can’t See Me” type shenanigans there.

But when Las Vegas needed it most, complementary football was on full display in the back-to-back series to end the game.

About that offense…

The offense, behind a makeshift offensive line that went through its 16th combination of linemen, was dialed in, and Carr hooked up with Cole to tie the game. And the defense, which gave up an obscene 206 rushing yards, won the game on Chandler Jones’ 48-yard fumble return.

“We were able to put it in the red zone and keep them out, and obviously be able to stop them in the four-minute defense, get the ball back, and then be able to put together a two-minute drive there to tie it,” McDaniels said in his victory Monday press conference. “So, all those things are huge, and they ultimately create the result. So, we were fortunate enough that we made just enough plays to win.”

I told you nice things happen when the Raiders actually play complementary football. And yes, that’s complementary with an “e,” not an “i,” folks. #PetPeeve

*Top Photo: Larry Brown Sports

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