ALAMEDA – The NFL might call Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio to explain what happened on that wacky, ultimately pivotal fourth-down call in Sunday’s 20-17 loss to Dallas.
Del Rio will listen, but “I’m doing to disagree with it. I know what I saw. I saw it myself from the sideline.”
Del Rio’s vantage showed space between football and first down marker following a Dak Prescott’s quarterback sneak with roughly five minutes left. That was enough for an easy decision.
“Just stretch the chain and if it’s inside, if there’s space, it goes the other way,” Del Rio said during his Monday afternoon press conference. “I thought everything was in place to get an accurate call and I saw space and in my opinion, it should have gone the other way and a turnover on downs.”
Referee Gene Steratore didn’t agree. He gave Dallas a first down that sparked Dan Bailey’s decisive 19-yard field goal.
Del Rio knew about that. He hadn’t heard about the folded index card used to aid Steratore’s decision until after.
“I didn’t see any index card last night. I saw it only on social media,” Del Rio said. “I did not see that process happen. I saw the chain. Like I said, I saw space and I was like, ‘Alright, they just made a big error going for it right there and this is a turning point.’ It’s four (minutes) and change in the game and we’ve got the ball on the 40 going the other way. That was pretty ballsy and it really didn’t work, except they got the fortuitous reaction from the crew.”
Del Rio didn’t agree with the call, one he considered crystal clear in person and using Sunday Night Football’s invasive cameras. He certainly didn’t appreciate Steratore’s reaction to the first down call. Not one bit.
“The guy ran out there with the camera and put the camera right down on it, so the whole world got to see what it was,” Del Rio said. “It’s not like we’re making something up. The guy with the camera was right there. So how you can look at that and then get up with a smirk… I don’t know, that’s hard to take.”
Del Rio also found it hard to stomach three touchdowns getting taken off the board. He agreed that Sean Smith’s pick should’ve been brought back. He was touched before returning it 22 yards to the end zone. He agreed a holding call helped spring Cordarrelle Patterson’s kickoff return touchdown.
Having Jared Cook’s touchdown called back for offensive pass interference late in the second quarter was tough to take. Cook made aggressive contact with Dallas linebacker Sean Lee, boxed him out and caught an easy touchdown. The officials thought the act was illegal. Del Rio disagrees.
“I thought we had a touchdown. I think it should’ve been a touchdown,” Del Rio said. “It was not ruled a defensive hold, which it was. Instead it was ruled as offensive pass interference and they took it off the board. That was disappointing. I think the tape verifies that. It was disappointing. Then we missed the field goal. So, we missed an opportunity there.”