First the tuck rule, now the “must have possession when hitting the ground” rule? It seems like the NFL is trying to screw the Raiders over every time they have a chance. With the game tied at 7 in the second quarter, JaMarcus Russell hit Louis Murphy with a 19 yard pass over the middle in the end zone. Murphy caught the ball cleanly, had possession for a few seconds, landed with both feet down in the end zone, and then it popped out as he hit the ground. It was a catch in every sense of the word and Murphy even jumped into the Black Hole to celebrate his first career TD, one that would have given the Raiders a 14-7 lead just before halftime. After a lengthy review, the officials came up with some bogus reason to nullify the score, making it 4th and 5 for the Raiders. They wound up kicking a field goal to go up 10-7, missing out on four points.
Much like the Bills earlier in the evening, the Raiders were surprising everyone by playing such a solid game, beating a team with whom they had struggled so many times before. And just like the Bills blew an 11 point lead with five and a half minutes to go, the Raiders blew their improbable lead with 2:34 to go. Had that Murphy TD counted as it should have, the Sproles TD would have only tied the game at 24, not given the Chargers the lead and the win. Then in overtime you could say the Chargers might have won it, but at least the Raiders would have had another chance to get the victory, one they deserved another shot at. Honestly, I don’t give a crap what rule the officials said was in effect; Louis Murphy caught a touchdown, end of story. Why the heck was that reviewed, much less overturned? Total bogus bullcrap.
Lastly, a few observations about the game: excellent Raiders debut for Richard Seymour. He’s not worth a first-round pick, but damn, he really improved that Raiders rush and pass defense and he made Al Davis proud. Next, it was impossible not to notice how infrequently LaDainian Tomlinson was on the field. Sproles was the go-to-back on the game-winning drive and LT really didn’t do much against a team he usually feasts on. He’s been going downhill for two years, make it three now.
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