FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Darren McFadden took the handoff, slashed left and broke for the goal line. The Raiders running back crossed it without resistance, scoring a touchdown that could’ve tied the might New England Patriots late in the fourth quarter.
This celebration, he thought, is going to be sweet.
Nobody came running.
“When I turned around and didn’t see guys rushing toward me,” McFadden said, “I knew something wasn’t right.”
His instincts were spot on. The Raiders were shell-shocked by a controversial holding call on left guard Gabe Jackson.
On the next play, quarterback Derek Carr had a pass bounce off Denarius Moore’s hands and to Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, who corralled an interception that sealed a 16-9 win.
Jackson told reporters he didn’t do anything wrong. Head coach Dennis Allen agreed with that assessment.
“I saw it up on the big screen,” he said. “My opinion is that it was not a hold.”
It was a close call. Jackson appeared to block Patrick Chung well -- he might have grasped a shoulder pad when the Patriots safety turned around to follow McFadden -- but unintentionally brought him down after being inadvertently tripped by Wilfork. A flag was thrown at that time.
The Raiders fell just short of an upset win, which added to the sting of falling to 0-3.
“Any loss is tough, but this one here is hard to swallow,” McFadden said. “You’re out there and you’re excited because think you’ve tied the game and (the play gets called back). That’s hard to take.”