Tuesday, November 28

Officials at Raiders-Bengals wild-card game frustrate fans on both sides

The first wild-card playoff game of the 2021 NFL season generated a lot of frustration among Raiders and Bengals fans, and not just because of how their teams were playing. They were also upset with questionable or missed calls by the referee team.

There were 14 penalties allowed in the Bengals’ 26-19 victory. All five of the Raiders’ starting offensive linemen were penalized during the game, according to the associated press. The Raiders finished with seven penalties for 46 yards, while the Bengals had seven penalties for 56 yards.

MORE: NFL playoff bracket, scores

Playoff umpiring teams are “all-star” units made up of officials from various teams. For this game, Jerome Boger was the referee. He has been an NFL referee since 2004.

It turns out that Boger’s performance wasn’t entirely unexpected. According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, a front office official expected the below-average departure from the crew.

But Boger’s team, for all its experience, left fans confused by some of the decisions it made. Here’s a look at five questionable or missed calls and a sample of how fans reacted on Twitter:

MORE: Bengals vs. Raiders final score, results

Early whistle on a TD pass from Joe Burrow

Arguably the biggest wild play was made late in the second quarter when Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow threw a touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd. Boyd caught the pass with no problem, but no touchdown was called right away. This was due to a referee blowing his whistle before Boyd caught the ball. The referee thought Burrow went out of bounds before releasing the ball.

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The NFL rule book says: “(W)hen an official mistakenly blows the whistle while the ball is still in play, the ball is immediately dead.” The play is not reviewable. Nevertheless, the touchdown remained.

MORE: Bengals’ touchdown against Raiders stands despite official’s wrong whistle

Pass to Hunter Renfrow

In the third quarter, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr threw a deep pass to wide receiver Hunter Renfrow. Renfrow appeared to catch the ball, but Bengals safety Jessie Bates III snatched it out of his hands and it bounced out of bounds. The fault on the field was a reception and a fumble.

Cincinnati contested the ruling. The call was reversed and officers changed it to an incomplete pass.

MORE: Why Peyton Barber cost the Raiders 38 yards with a botched attempt to exploit NFL kickoff rules

12 men in the field

The Raiders had 12 men on the field for a play, but the umpires didn’t catch it. However, Raiders cornerback Casey Hayward noted the potential penalty, calling a timeout before the team noticed.

Ja’Marr Chase Unexpected Push

In the first quarter, Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase appeared to push against Raiders cornerback Desmond Trufant before a catch. No penalty was called. These fans thought that Chase should have been marked.

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Khalid Kareem manhandling the passer

With less than two minutes remaining in the game and the Raiders trying to tie the game or take the lead, Bengals defensive end Khalid Kareem was called out for manhandling Derek Carr. However, looking at the video, it appears that Kareem hit Carr in the shoulder and perhaps the face mask. The call sparked a lot of reactions from fans who didn’t think the hit was that “hard”.


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