This past Sunday, fans were treated to one of the wildest finishes in NFL History, with a game between the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets. The Jets were trying to get their first win of the season and the Raiders were trying to keep their postseason hopes alive, and were also trying to not be the first team to lose to the Jets. Here is a look at how the game went down to the wire
The Wild Final Minutes of the Fourth Quarter
The fourth quarter was just wild, which was capped off by a New York Jets rally in which they came back and took the lead, 28-24 with around five minutes left to play in the game. After the Jets scored (which capped off a run of 17 straight points), the Raiders found themselves down, and desperately needed this win to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Raiders promptly marched down the field to the red zone, only to end the drive with a turnover on downs after a combination of bad decisions by Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and a good New York Jets defensive sequence.
After a prompt three and out by the New York Jets, the Raiders got the ball back with less than 30 seconds to go and had to create some magic, being stranded at around midfield. With no timeouts and around 60 yards to cover, they needed to make things happen and fast if they wanted to avoid losing to a winless Jets team. After moving the ball up the field once, it was apparent that the Raiders simply weren’t going to be able to move the ball forward through traditional means, and had to rely on the Hail Mary if they were going to win the game. With 10 seconds left to go in the game, the Raiders lined up in a Hail Mary Formation.
In a head-scratching move by New York Jets coordinator Gregg Williams, the Jets sent eight rushers to the line on the play. Since 2006, in the last 252 plays that involves a Hail Mary, no team had sent six or more rushers; the New York Jets became the first such team to do so. This resulted in man to man coverage for the three wide receivers down the field, which left the risk for one cornerback to get burnt badly.
Unfortunately for the Jets, that’s exactly what happened, as Henry Ruggs (one of the fastest wide receivers in the NFL), beat the coverage and was left wide open down the field. Carr saw this opportunity, and took advantage of it, lofting a perfect spiral down the field to put the ball in the hands of his wide receiver, and win the game.
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) December 6, 2020
Immediately after the play and throughout the rest of the day, football analysts were scratching their head over the terrible play calling by the New York Jets. Rex Ryan, former coach for the New York Jets called it the “worst decision he’s ever seen” in his 30+ year tenure in football, and the criticism was so bad that a meme page published a tweet showing that Gregg Williams could’ve played a game of madden to come up with a better playcall than what he chose.
Rex Ryan on the Gregg Williams call (via @GetUpESPN): “Dumbest call I’ve ever seen. Been around the thing for 58 years, 30 years as a coach. That’s the dumbest call ever. There’s a time and place for Cover-0. That sure ain’t it. It’s just stupid.” #Jets pic.twitter.com/pvFtL1XgBh
— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) December 7, 2020
All Gregg Williams needed to do to save his job was 'Ask Madden' pic.twitter.com/JfYi2PqGOm
— NFL Memes (@NFL_Memes) December 7, 2020
People also questioned why head coach Adam Gase (who is notorious for leaving most of the coaching responsibilities up to his coordinators) wasn’t involved in the playcall and allowed Williams to make such a risky and unnecessary call. It’s unclear if Adam Gase would have even came up with a better call, as his team is currently winless.
The next day, Jets Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was fired, which should show how bad the call was. However, the damage was done and it was too late. The New York Jets, who were so close to winning their first game of the season, will now have to wait a couple more days to get a win. As for the Raiders, it will be interesting to see how they move forward, as they will be playing the Colts and the Dolphins in weeks to come, who don’t tend to give games away to other teams.