In one of the strangest finishes to an NFL game you’ll ever see, the Las Vegas Raiders beat the New England Patriots 30-24 to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
The game was tied 24-24 with three seconds left. Running back Rhamondre Stevenson — who had enjoyed a monster game up until that point — had another big gain when he ran deep into Raiders territory.
The clock was zero – meaning that if Stevenson had to be tackled, the game would be over and it would go into overtime.
Hoping to steal a win at the death and avoid an extra 10 minutes of play, Stevenson decided to throw the ball back to teammate Jacoby Meyers.
Meyers grabbed the sideline and attempted to continue the play by throwing to a teammate.
But as he tried to throw it to quarterback Mack Jones, Raiders defensive end Chandler Jones caught the ball.
Jones stiff-armed the Patriots’ quarterback and raced 48 yards for a touchdown.
Meyers admitted he should have held the ball and let the game go to overtime.
“I didn’t see Chandler Jones at the time,” Meyers told MassLive’s Mark Daniels. Per the NFL.
“I thought he was open and I tried to approach him and play with it, but I should have gone down because the score was tied.”
Patriots quarterback Jones regretted not tackling his position rival.
“I have to deal with the boy [Chandler Jones]Jones said, Per the NFL. “It’s on me, it’s my fault. … I’ve got to deal with the guy and we’re going to play overtime.
Raiders head coach John McDaniels — the former longtime Patriots offensive coordinator — was surprised by how the game ended.
“Once Rammondre (Stevenson) pitched the ball to Jacoby (Meyers), I thought they’d tackle whoever they had and that would be it and we’d go to overtime,” McDaniels said. Per the NFL.
“When he turned the ball sideways… it didn’t look like a sideways play to me when they gave the ball back.
“When they handed it back, I thought: ‘Oh, tackle him, go overtime.’ And then when I saw the ball in the air and saw Chandler (Jones) under it, I thought: ‘Oh my God, we might have a chance at this.’
“When he caught it, I saw Mack (Jones) back there and I was hoping he could avoid any attempt Mack had to tackle him and hopefully he had enough juice in his body to get to the end zone.”
The Patriots’ decision came after a thrilling game in which the Patriots scored 21-straight second-half points, trailing the Raiders 17-3 at halftime.
It improves the Raiders record to 6-8 on the season and keeps their playoff hopes alive, while the Patriots slip to 7-7 and have their postseason in the balance with a tricky final few weeks remaining.
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