Instead, the Raiders had plenty to say about the referees, both on another close call earlier in the fourth quarter and the absence of Michael Crabtree on the Raiders’ last two offensive plays.
Referee Gene Steratore used an index card to determine a first down for the Cowboys on a fourth-and-1. The Cowboys later kicked a field goal that became the winning points in a 20-17 victory when Carr fumbled in the final minute while stretching for what would have been the go-ahead touchdown.
The key to the drive was that fourth-and-1 play, a sneak by Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.
“He was definitely short but I’m not going to get into that,” Raiders linebacker Bruce Irvin said. “I like my money too much so I don’t want to talk about the refs.”
Said Raiders linebacker NaVorro Bowman: “You could just be in that circle and see where that ball was, I just don’t see how they got that. For them to pull that paper out, did that solidify the first down? There was space in between the ball and the stick. I don’t know, man. We just have to come to a mutual thing with the officials and get every play right.”
Crabtree said he was sent to the sideline for a concussion protocol, missing the Raiders’ final two offensive plays. He was hit on a 55-yard pass-interference penalty that put the Raiders within field goal range.
“They put me in concussion protocol like two plays after the pass-interference call,” he said. “I don’t know. I’m lost. I don’t understand. I was confused. That has never happened. They took me out.”
Carr said a play was designed for Crabtree prior to his scramble that resulted in a touchback: “We actually had a play called, a certain play called on the other side, and then the refs made us take” Crabtree out of the game.
Instead, Carr wound up scrambling on third down. It appeared he might be able to turn the corner and make it to the end zone; instead, safety Jeff Heath pushed Carr as he dove toward the pylon, and Carr lost his left-handed grip on the football. If Carr had to do it over again, he said he would go for the win.
“I left it all out there,” he said. “I’m just trying to win for my teammates. No excuse, I have to hold onto the ball.”
Index card first down
Referee Gene Steratore gives his explanation on his call
Why did you use the index card?
Gene Steratore: “Didn’t use the card to make the final decision. The final decision was made visually. The card was used nothing more than a reaffirmation of what was visually done. My decision was visually done based on the look from the pole.”
How did it reaffirm?
Steratore: “That was already finished. The ball was touching the pole. I put the card in there and as soon as it touched, it was nothing more than a reaffirmation. The decision was made based on my visual from the top looking down and the ball touching the front of the pole.”
So the card was used for what purpose?
Steratore: “It was just for reaffirmation, but the decision was made based on my visual, looking at the ball touching the pole.”
It reaffirmed it how?
Steratore: “The decision was made based on my visual look that the ball was touching the pole. The card did nothing more than reaffirm. The judgment was not made by the card itself. It was made by my visual looking at the football as it relates to the line and the pole.”
How did it reaffirm your call?
Steratore: “My call was made based on my visual looking at the football and the front of the line and the pole.”
Have you used the card before or how did you think of using that?
Steratore: “It’s maybe been done at some point in someone’s career but I didn’t use the card for my decision. I used my visual looking at the ball reaching the pole.”