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NFL officials seem to have a thing for screwing over Raiders rookie Arden Key

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NFL: Oakland Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

There is now a disturbing trend that’s happened to Raiders rookie defensive end Arden Key. The officials seem to have it out for him. The most recent example occurred in Sunday’s loss to the Bengals on a mysterious taunting penalty.

Key came in and put a hit on Bengals QB Jeff Driskel as he threw. It seemed like a normal play and we would just move on. But with the back judge staring at Key, a few seconds into the play, he threw a late flag. We all just assumed it was another roughing the passer penalty. It wasn’t, but it was still a personal foul just the same, despite Arden Key doing essentially nothing to deserve it.

Take a look.

He appeared from everyone else’s perspective, he was seeing if Driskel still had the ball as he was already on him when Driskel threw the ball into the turf. The official assumed he was getting in Driskel’s face and threw the flag.

The penalty put the Bengals at the Oakland 31-yard-line. They would drive for the touchdown to take a 20-7 lead at the half.

This is two weeks in a row Key was screwed over by the official. The previous week against the Steelers, he was denied what should have been a strip sack on Josh Dobbs.

Key came around the right edge and hit Dobbs as he threw. The officials waste no time in ruling this a an incomplete pass. The Raiders challenge the play, but since it was so close, they go with the ruling on the field. Had they, again, not ASSUMED, and blew the play dead, it would have been ruled a fumble on the field, recovered by Raiders DT Johnathan Hankins. Based on the same principle of needing overwhelming evidence to overturn the initial call on the field, a fumble call would have stood as well.

Derek Carr had a ball slip out of his hands earlier in the game that was immediately ruled a fumble. So, clearly the officials are not consistent in the way they make that call.

That should have been Key’s second sack. But I suppose the Raiders should just be thankful the officials didn’t find another phantom reason to throw a flag on him. They sure did in week four when he had what amounted to bumping into Browns QB Baker Mayfield flagged for roughing the passer.

There are probably a few I’m missing here, but aren’t these enough?

Not cool picking on the rookie like this. He is the closest thing the Raiders have to an outside pass rusher and keeps getting screwed over on the rare occasion he’s able to get in the backfield.