If you missed Thursday night's Raiders vs. Chargers game, you missed an incredible play. Actually, you missed an incredible incomplete pass.
Correct me if I am wrong, but there are two elements that go into a completed catch.
The receiver lands both feet in bounds.
The ball never hits the ground.
Check and check.
Well, I am wrong. Something else needs to happen—or not happen.
The third element is something that I must admit I've never heard. Raiders defensive back Lito Sheppard was out of bounds. Despite not catching the ball, he did come into contact with the ball when he was out of bounds.
In all my years of watching football, I can't recall a time where that was called. Then again, I don't know if the situation has ever presented itself before.
The Chargers scored on that drive anyway, so even though the Raiders won the game, you can't make a case that the play was a huge difference maker.
But let's look at the two elements of the play.
For one, Brown made a tremendous catch. Even in a losing effort, the Chargers had to be enthused by the type of athleticism and focus that he showed.
And what about that play from Sheppard? How great was that? That's a tremendous amount of focus. The sideline truly is the 12th man for the defense.
Generally speaking, defenders will use the sidelines to limit what the offensive player can do. But Sheppard used his knowledge of the field and his persistence to prevent a touchdown.
For a guy who's played only sparingly in recent years, that's really a strong play.
It's not often that you see a play in the NFL where everyone involved does everything well. When that happens, it's worth another look or two.