The Raiders and Cowboys faced off on Sunday night in what was a must-win game for both teams. The Raiders entered the night at 6-7 and needed a victory to keep pace with the Chiefs (8-6) in the AFC West, while the Cowboys had to win to stay in the NFC Wild Card picture.
The game was back and forth all night, and it featured one of the weirder moments of the season—when referee Gene Steratore used a folded piece of paper to measure for a first down. The game's ending was similarly bizarre.
After a Cowboys field goal gave them a 20-17 lead with 1:38 remaining, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr led his team all the way to Dallas' eight-yard line with :31 remaining. On a third-and-3, Carr scrambled to his right and easily had enough yardage for a first down, but he wanted to sneak into the corner of the end zone to give his team the victory.
Dallas safety Jeff Heath chased Carr down, and when Carr dove for the end zone the ball came loose and clearly traveled into the end zone and then out of bounds. By rule, that's a touchback, so the Cowboys got the ball on the 20-yard-line and kneeled to end the game.
It was an absolutely brutal way for the Raiders to be essentially eliminated from playoff contention—Oakland is still mathematically alive, but needs a ton of help from a ton of teams to get in. But it also felt like an appropriately disappointing finish to what has been a really disappointing season for the Raiders, who won the AFC West last year and came into the season with Super Bowl aspirations.