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NFL admits mistake on "poorly officiated" holding penalty that aided Raiders win over Titans

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Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday the Raiders were able to pull victory out of the jaws of defeat thanks solely to a holding penalty on their final drive. That penalty was called on Titans' defensive back BW Webb and it kept the Raiders' drive alive on a play that would have otherwise ended their hopes.

The Raiders were down 21-17 with under two minutes left in the game. They had driven into Titans' territory and were lined up in 4th and 8 with 1:57 left in the game. A first down keeps their hopes alive. Without it, they turn the ball over on downs and the Titans are able to run out the clock.

Derek Carr threw the ball deep to Andre Holmes in the left side of the end zone and the pass was knocked down incomplete. For a brief moment it appeared the Titans had won the game. But the officials had thrown the flag for holding.

The Titans have not been happy about it, either. And upon further review they have a very good case. No where in the game tape is there a hold to be found. Nothing that even slightly resembles a hold. Not by Webb or any other Titans defensive backs.

"The ref didn't tell me anything. I had tight coverage on (the receiver),'' Webb told Titans Online. "He just threw the flag. I don't know which part I could've held him...I don't know. I personally think it was a terrible call, but I really can't say much about it. I didn't grab him at all. I'm not sure what the refs saw."

"They were throwing left all the way. Somehow a call came from the right of where B.W. was," said Titans interim head coach Mike Mularkey. "Where it came from I have no idea. Do I agree with it? No, I don't agree with it."

Since then, Mularkey contacted the league about the play, to say it was a bunch of... well... malarkey. And the response back confirmed that the play was indeed called incorrectly.

To be fair, the Raiders took advantage of their opportunity and put it in the end zone in two plays. Had the Titans been able to keep them out of the end zone, they still could have pulled out the win. But there's no way around the fact that had the flag not been thrown, the Raiders would have been sunk.

The mea culpa from the league also doesn't change the official result. Something the Raiders have known all too well in their history with seeing terrible calls go against them.

And the loss might hurt for the Titans and their fans now, but it will feel a lot better come April's draft.