With the game tied 24-24 and time running out, the New England Patriots and Las Vegas Raiders appeared to be headed for overtime. All that was left to do for the Patriots was to run one play without shooting themselves in the foot.
Well, shoot themselves in the foot they did — in spectacular fashion: the Patriots ran arguably the dumbest play in NFL history given the context of the situation.
The official NFL game book has the play listed as follows:
(:03) (Shotgun) R.Stevenson up the middle to LV 32 for 23 yards. Lateral to J.Meyers to LV 40 for -8 yards. FUMBLES, RECOVERED by LV-C.Jones at NE 48. C.Jones for 48 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
This description does not do the play justice, though. With no seconds left on the clock, why would Stevenson and Meyers both lateral the ball back? What was there possibly left to gain for New England? Why not kneel it and play for overtime, especially after you have erased a 17-3 halftime lead and are in a solid spot to win.
Alas, that did inexplicably not happen. And now, the Patriots are 7-7 and once again out of the playoff picture.
They deserve to be.