LAS VEGAS — Did Keelan Cole’s toes land out of bounds on his game-tying touchdown against the New England Patriots?
The NFL’s official determination was: maybe, maybe not.
In a postgame pool report, NFL vice president of officiating Walt Anderson said Cole’s score stood because officials could not find “clear and obvious” video evidence to reverse the on-field call. If the pass had initially been ruled incomplete, Anderson said, that call also would have stood.
The touchdown tied the score with 32 seconds remaining. Raiders linebacker Chandler Jones then intercepted a Jakobi Meyers lateral as time expired and returned it 48 yards for a walk-off touchdown to hand the Patriots a 30-24 loss Sunday at Allegiant Stadium.
Here is the full transcript of Anderson’s exchange with pool reporter Mike Reiss of ESPN:
Question: How did you determine that was a touchdown catch by Keelan Cole in the fourth quarter?
Anderson: “The ruling on the field was a touchdown.”
Question: In replay review, it appeared the receiver?s left foot was on the white. Was that not visible in replay?
Anderson: “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.”
Question: Did you have a down-the-sideline angle to aid you in your review?
Anderson: “No, we did not. Probably the best view was what we term a ‘high end zone’ view. TV gave us the most enhanced view that they had as well. 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.”
Because Sunday’s game was flexed out of its original Sunday night timeslot, officials did not have access to cameras placed within the end-zone plyons, as those are not used in non-primetime games.
Among those who criticized the ruling was Patriots wide receiver DeVante Parker, who missed the game with a concussion.
“That was not no damn td,” Parker wrote on Twitter.
The Patriots scored 21 unanswered points to erase a 17-3 halftime deficit before collapsing in the final minutes. Cole’s touchdown capped a nine-play, 81-yard Raiders drive that featured a fourth-and-10 conversion.
The loss dropped New England to 7-7 on the season and allowed the Los Angeles Chargers to overtake them in the AFC postseason standings. The Patriots remain alive for a playoff spot but close the season with three difficult matchups: home against the 10-4 Cincinnati Bengals next Saturday, then home against the 8-5 Miami Dolphins and at the 11-3 Buffalo Bills.