The Raiders headed into the second half of their game against the Bengals down 24-0. They have not played well at all in the third quarter this season but for once, they looked to be holding their own. That was until the fourth quarter came and the zebras gave the Bengals a big boost.
The very first play of the fourth quarter, Carson Palmer was stripped of the ball on the rush and the Bengals recovered. They would get the ball at the 45 yard line and run to the one yard line on one play. But the Raiders defense stiffened up and held them to a field goal to keep it to 27-10.
With an entire fourth quarter remaining, scoring 17 points was certainly within reach. Especially if the Raiders continued to play as they had in the third quarter. That defensive stand at the goal line suggested they might.
On the ensuing offensive possession, they were moving the ball too. They were in Bengals territory and threatening. Then a nice screen play from Palmer to Marcel Reece looked to give them a first down in scoring position. But there was a penalty for clipping called on Mike Brisiel. The replay showed, however, that there was no clipping. Brisiel had fallen down, didn't touch Rey Maualuga but from the angle of the official, it looked like he had dove at his legs so he called the clipping.
The penalty moved the Raiders out of scoring position with now 20 yards to gain for the first down. They were unable to get it and had to punt.
On the ensuing Bengals possession, they looked to be stopped again by the Raiders. On third and seven, Andy Dalton hit AJ Green on a short pass but Joselio Hanson batted it out of his hands. As soon as the ball hit the ground, and official blew the whistle. Hanson made a brilliant save to keep the ball inbounds and Tyvon Branch returned it for a score.
The officials huddled for a good long time trying to figure out what the call was. After much discussion, the head official made the call and it was the worst possible call for the Raiders. One that I could not have fathomed would actually happen.
They said there was an inadvertent whistle which meant the Bengals would have the option of replaying the down. No pass defended to force a punt. No forced fumble called dead at the spot with Raiders getting the ball. No forced fumble and return touchdown. The Bengals failed and simply got a mulligan. Exactly what part of that makes any sense whatsoever? I don't see it.
The Raiders were fuming at this point. On the next play a Bengal offensive lineman was called for a false start but Lamarr Houston was so fired up, he sacked Andy Dalton anyway. This cause Bengals offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth to come after him. Houston then turned around and got in Whitworth's face and a huge scrum opened up.
The result of the scrum was Houston and Whitworth being called for personal fouls and being ejected. And yet again, the Raiders got the worst of it because Tommy Kelly was also ejected from the game.
The very next play, Andy Dalton went deep for AJ Green and the Bengals were instantly in scoring position. They would then eat up some clock and add another touchdown just for good measure to send the Raider out with a 34-10 loss.
So, the clipping took at least a field goal off the board, the "inadvertent" whistle took a touchdown off the board, and the scrap on the field resulted in two ejections, penalty yards, and another touchdown for the Bengals. That's at least a 17 point swing. And it would have at very least made the game a lot more interesting near the end. Instead of the face plant that it turned out to be.