The New England Patriots fell to the Las Vegas Raiders 30-24 on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium and dropped to 7-7 on the season, which is just outside of the AFC playoff picture with three weeks remaining.
But it wasn't the loss alone that sent New England fans into a tizzy, it was the way Bill Belichick's squad lost the game.
After the Raiders managed to tie the game at 24 with 32 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, the Patriots got the ball back with a chance to win the game. On third-and-10 at their own 45-yard line with three seconds remaining, Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson rushed to the Las Vegas 32-yard line before lateraling the ball to wide receiver Jakobi Meyers.
Meyers then tried to lateral the ball to quarterback Mac Jones, but his pass was caught by Raiders defensive end Chandler Jones, who bowled over Jones and rushed into the end zone for the winning touchdown.
Had Stevenson or Meyers went down, the game would have gone to overtime, where the Patriots would have had more of a chance to win. Instead, NFL Twitter is blasting the Patriots for arguably the "dumbest" play ever:
Bill Barnwell @billbarnwell
Here's the dots for the Patriots-Raiders ending. The best case scenario for this lateral was Chandler Jones flattening Mac Jones like a pancake. Instead, Jones picked the lateral off and flattened the QB, too. Just one of the worst plays you'll ever see. <a href="https://t.co/7sb5xXSXJU">pic.twitter.com/7sb5xXSXJU</a>
A lot has gone wrong for the Patriots this season, but nothing else has been quite like what we witnessed on Sunday.
That said, the Patriots offense didn't play well the entire game. Jones completed just 13-of-31 passes for 112 yards as he struggled to move the ball downfield. Stevenson was the only bright spot with 172 rushing yards and one touchdown.
Had the Patriots won, they would have locked themselves into a three-way tie with the Los Angeles Chargers and Miami Dolphins at the back end of the AFC playoff picture. Instead, they're a game behind both at eight in the AFC and face an uphill battle to secure a postseason berth over the last three weeks of the season.
New England will face the Cincinnati Bengals (10-4), Dolphins (8-6) and Buffalo Bills (11-3) to close the season.