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Jon Gruden: Raiders Had Interception Overturned by 'Wizard of Oz or Somebody'

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst IIIDecember 2, 2019

Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden follows the first half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden is irked at the decision to overturn an interception by Trayvon Mullen midway through the third quarter—so irked that he isn't even sure whose decision it was.

"We had an interception we thought we did intercept that was turned over by the Wizard of Oz or somebody," Gruden told reporters following the Raiders' 40-9 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday evening. "I don't know what happened on that. That was a big play in the game, no doubt."

Oakland was trailing 24-0 at the time of the play. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes lobbed a 3rd-and-8 pass into the end zone, where Mullen picked him off. After official review, however, it was ruled that Mullen committed defensive pass interference and the play was reversed.

Oakland Raiders @Raiders

.@MullenIsland1 with the second pick of his career. https://t.co/LLRSUPcDFC

Game analyst Tony Romo opined on the CBS broadcast that he thought Mahomes may have been aiming for Tyreek Hill rather than Demarcus Robinson, whom Mullen was called for interfering with. Either way, the Chiefs scored a touchdown on the following play when running back LeSean McCoy ran it in from three yards out to help put Kansas City up 31-0.

Mullen, a rookie second-round cornerback, was also called for unnecessary roughness on a 3rd-and-3 midway through the fourth quarter that gave the Chiefs a 1st-and-goal. Kansas City scored on a Darwin Thompson four-yard touchdown run two plays later.

Penalties killed Oakland across the board. The Raiders committed 12 penalties for 99 yards in the game, while the Chiefs weren't called for any.

"We need to play with more discipline," Gruden added postgame. "That's a reflection on me."

In terms of interceptions, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr throwing two picks—one a pick-six—was more of an issue than Mullen's overturned interception. Carr's first pick came on the opening drive of the game, which foreshadowed the rest of the night.

The Raiders had three turnovers compared to none for Kansas City.

Gruden's frustration was likely amplified by the fact that losing to Kansas City dropped the Raiders to 6-6 on the season and pushed them out of the AFC playoff picture.

The Raiders' game next Sunday against 7-5 Tennessee will be pivotal as to determining whether they can claw back into a wild-card spot.

Gruden has plenty of mistakes to address and correct with his team between now and then.