SAN DIEGO -- Oakland Raiders receiver Rod Streater admitted he did not know the rule after their 26-13 loss to the San Diego Chargers. All he knew was that, in his opinion, he had possession of the football when he crossed the goal line and he thought he had a 39-yard touchdown reception.
While one referee, the one who was on top of the play, signaled TD, the ref on the far side of the end zone, albeit, with a better angle, rushed over to rule it a no catch after the ball popped free and Streater scrambled to recover it.
An instant replay review followed courtesy of an Oakland challenge and instead of being within 26-20 with 4:38 to play, holding all three of their timeouts with the two minute warning also in hand, the Raiders lost the challenge and faced a third-and-2 from the 39-yard line.
Even if it appeared as though Streater caught the ball with his back to the end zone, took at least three steps with possession, crossed the goal line still in possession and then spun (a football move?) to hit the ground before the ball popped free.
Raiders coach Dennis Allen took a diplomatic approach.
“I know what the rule is,” Allen said. “It looked to me like after he completed the catch, the ball got pulled out in the end zone.”
Allen compared it to a two-point conversion in Super Bowl XLIV, when the New Orleans Saints' Drew Brees hit Lance Moore on a play initially ruled incomplete, only to be overturned after a Saints challenge to give them a 24-17 lead over the Indianapolis Colts. Allen was a Saints assistant at the time.
“The rule is that you have to maintain possession all the way through to the ground,” Allen said of Streater's play. “I thought he maintained possession all the way through the ground and then the ball was pulled out after he had gone to the ground.”
For what it's worth, Streater said “the ground caused the ball to come out,” not Chargers safety Darrell Stuckey.
Still, the Raiders ran a mind-numbing 12 more plays (what hurry-up offense?) after the Streater non-catch to get to the Chargers' 6-yard line ... and could not get into the end zone.
Had Streater, who was limited to one catch for 2 yards, scored, he was sure the Raiders defense would have held the Chargers and given Oakland one last shot.
“You've got to go with what the ref says, I guess, you know?” Streater said.