A Las Vegas Raiders player lost his cool and was one of the main reasons Baker Mayfield and the Los Angeles Rams had a chance at a legendary comeback.
There are two sides to each dramatic, last-second come-from-behind victory in the NFL. On one side, you have the offensive team who deserves credit for putting together a well-executed two-minute drill to get their points on the board and win the game. And on the other side, you have a defense that has clearly not done its job.
More often than not, the defense has entirely imploded, or made a critical error that loses them the game.
Last night, the Las Vegas Raiders can place a significant amount of blame on one player who lost his cool and made a bonehead decision, getting an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and keeping the Los Angeles Rams‘ drive alive.
Raiders player picks up unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and keeps Rams hopes alive
The Rams drive was already moving, but it looked as though the Raiders had an answer. They had just sacked Baker Mayfield for a loss of nine yards on 1st-and-10. Raiders DT Jerry Tillery got cocky, though, and knocked the ball out of the hands of Baker Mayfield.
An official caught the incident and threw a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct, a 15-yard penalty and an automatic first down.
What should have been a nine-yard loss for the Rams became a new set of downs and a six-yard gain after it was all said and done. Five plays later the Rams scored and tacked on an extra point to go up by one point which would end up being the final score of the game.
It’s a play that many have honed in on as the reason the Raiders lost the game. It’s easy to focus on this one myopically and make that conclusion. While it was a huge factor, it wasn’t the only one.
The Raiders’ pass protection absolutely fell through at the end of the game. The play before Tillery’s penalty, an interception was walked back due to defensive pass interference. Then, following Tillery’s penalty, Mayfield connected on four straight passes.
While it may not have outright lost them the game, Tillery’s inability to keep his cool when it mattered most certainly didn’t put the team in a position to win, and that’s not team football.