The Raiders needed some magic as they tried to mount a game-tying drive against the Patriots with no timeouts remaining late in the fourth quarter.
They got it, thanks to a Keelan Cole touchdown catch — and a controversial call by the officials.
It didn’t appear as though the veteran receiver got both feet down inbounds. An overhead view of the play seemed to indicate that Cole had a toe on the line when the second foot came down.
TOUCHDOWN KEELAN COLE
— NFL (@NFL) December 19, 2022
Is Cole in or out?? 👀 pic.twitter.com/2aPwlkcvpr
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The play was ruled a touchdown on the field, which triggered an automatic video review. Many presumed the call would be reversed given the overhead camera angle, but the officials decided that the ruling on the field would stand.
MORE: Jakobi Meyers explains what happened during costly lateral vs. Raiders
Why was that? Walt Anderson, the NFL’s senior vice president of officiating, told a pool reporter that they didn’t believe there was enough evidence to overturn the call on the field.
We looked at every available angle and it was not clear and obvious that the foot was on the white. It was very tight, very close. There was no shot that we could see — we even enhanced and blew up the views that we had. There was nothing that was clear and obvious that his foot was touching the white.
Anderson was also asked whether Ronald Tolbert’s crew had access to a direct sideline view of Cole’s foot. He said that it did not and instead relied on the “high end zone” view that many saw during the Fox broadcast of the game.
“TV gave us the most enhanced view that they had as well,” Anderson said. “We blew it up and I believe TV blew it up and there was nothing that was clear and obvious either way. Had the ruling on the field been incomplete, we would not have been able to change that either.”
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Anderson’s explanation makes sense, but Patriots fans will be frustrated that there was no better angle with which to assess the play.
Cole’s score, which occurred with 32 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, proved costly to the Patriots. They lost 30-24 after an ill-conceived lateral by Jakobi Meyers was recovered Chandler Jones and returned to the end zone for a defensive touchdown on the final play of regulation.