OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – The Oakland Raiders already slim playoff hopes all but disappeared when the ball slipped out of Derek Carr’s hands as he was diving toward the goal line for a potential winning touchdown.
Carr’s fumble through the end zone for a touchback denied Oakland’s comeback chance as the Raiders fell 20-17 to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night to deliver a crippling blow to their playoff chances.
“I’m super competitive,” Carr said. “I try not to lose at anything so I had an opportunity to try and win the football game.”
The Raiders (6-8) had that chance despite an odd fourth-down measurement with help of an index card that gave Dallas (8-6) a first down on its go-ahead drive earlier in the fourth quarter. Oakland took over at its 11 with 1:44 remaining and Carr nearly threw an interception on the fifth play of the drive only to get bailed out when Anthony Brown dropped it.
Carr then launched a deep ball on a fourth-and-10 that led to a 55-yard pass interference penalty on Jourdan Lewis that gave the Raiders the ball at the Dallas 15. A short pass to Cordarrelle Patterson got the ball down to the 8 before an incomplete pass to Michael Crabtree set up the key third down.
Crabtree was forced to leave the game after the play because the officials sent him into concussion protocol.
“I just don’t understand why they took me out of the last play of the game,” said Crabtree, who wasn’t diagnosed with a concussion. “They put me in concussion protocol like two plays after the pass-interference call. I don’t know. I’m lost. I don’t understand.”
The Raiders originally had a play called to go to Crabtree but had to change when he left. Carr then scrambled on Oakland’s final play and sprinted for the corner of the end zone where Jeff Heath came up to make a stop.
Carr reached for the goal line but the ball came loose just before crossing the line and rolled out of the end zone for a touchback that gave Dallas the ball and the win.
“As soon as I stuck the ball out he pushed and it just slipped out of my glove,” Carr said. “I tried to hold onto it. It wasn’t like I didn’t try. But there’s obviously a lot of different things … throw it away, kick a field goal, run out of bounds. OK, cool. But in that moment I was just trying to win for my teammates.”
The loss leaves the Raiders in ninth place in the AFC and almost no hopes of making the playoffs. Oakland needs to win its final two games, hope Miami wins twice, Buffalo and Tennessee each lose twice and Baltimore doesn’t lose twice to make the playoffs as the sixth seed.
The more likely outcome is the Raiders will miss the playoffs a year after winning 12 games to be considered one of the top contenders in the AFC heading into the season.
“Only one team at the end gets to hold the trophy and one team feels good every year, out of 32,” Carr said. “It’s a tough thing to do – week in and week out to win, it’s tough.”
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