Wild Ending: Patriots Lose to Raiders on Failed Lateral

Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Chandler Jones (55) celebrates after scoring on an interception during the second half of an NFL football game between the New England Patriots and Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022, in Las Vegas. The Raiders defeated the Patriots 30-24. (AP Photo/John Locher)(John Locher / Associated Press)

With time running out and the game tied at 24, it appeared like the Patriots and Raiders were headed to overtime. But a wild sequence of events on the final play leads to one of the wildest walk-off touchdowns in NFL history. The Patriots now sit outside the playoffs looking in. The Raiders still have a slim chance at the postseason. And the NFL continues to get crazier.


The last time I saw an ending this wild in an NFL game, it also involved the Patriots. In that one, the Patriots fell victim to the multiple laterals against Miami. This time, they were trying to execute multiple laterals when the Raiders intercepted one and ran it for a game winning touchdown. I still don’t understand why New England was tossing laterals in a tie game. If you’re losing and it’s your only option, you obviously lateral until you succeed or fail. But, in this scenario, New England should’ve just gone down and taken the game to overtime. There should be some sort of punishment this week for whoever was responsible. If it’s a player, I’m expecting to see extra laps, maybe even a first quarter benching next week. If it was a coach, he may be looking for a job soon.


The ending distracts from the solid defensive day the Patriots had. Yes, they were trailing 17-3 at one point, but one of those touchdowns was on a short 20-yard drive following a blocked punt. The defense turned the game around at that point, especially when Kyle Dugger returned an interception for a touchdown. The defense also got the shaft on the Raiders TD that tied the game at 24. The wide receiver’s second foot was clearly out of bounds, and it should’ve been overturned. It wasn’t the best defensive performance, but it covered for the offense all day long.


Outside of the botched lateral, the offense wasn’t anything to write home about for New England. The passing game was completely inept. Mac Jones completed just 13 or 31 passes for 112 yards. The team rushed for 206 yards in the game, but Rhamondre Stevenson was responsible for 172 of those yards and the only offensive touchdown for the Patriots. It’s clear Stevenson is good, but the passing game has to improve. Mac Jones looked solid most of his rookie season, but every week we are talking about him looking like he took a step back. Personally, I think it’s the offensive coordinator. Matt Patricia needs to be moved back to the defensive side of the ball or fired. Other defensive coordinators have pointed out New England’s offense looks like a defensive coordinator is calling the plays. Get a real offensive coordinator.


One of Bill Belichick’s disciples continues his winning ways against his teacher. Josh McDaniels was once considered an offensive genius. That reputation took a hit when he didn’t have Tom Brady running his offense, but he has still gotten multiple head coaching opportunities. When he was the head coach in Denver, the Broncos beat the Patriots the only time he faced his mentor. Sunday was the second time they faced off as NFL head coaches and McDaniels’ team won again. It was wild and crazy, but it’s a win. The Bill Belichick “coaching tree” has been a disaster, but McDaniels at least has two wins over Belichick to hang his hat on.


Going into Sunday, the Patriots were sitting in the final playoff spot and had received some help from the Bills beating the Dolphins. Now, they are the first team out as they are looking up at the Ravens, Chargers and Dolphins. The Raiders haven’t looked good all season, but Sunday’s win has them just one game behind the Patriots and Jets. With three games to go, Las Vegas still has a slim chance at the playoffs.


New England will face the defending AFC Champion Bengals next. Cincinatti is coming off a big win over Tampa and has taken over the top spot in the AFC North. The Bengals are also in the hunt for the top seed in the AFC, so this won’t be easy for the Patriots. The Raiders will face the Steelers. Pittsburgh is in the same boat as Oakland. They started slow but have been coming on late and have a very slim shot at the postseason. It appears both teams have stiff challenges next week.

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