Officials Bizarrely Allow Bengals' Touchdown Despite Inadvertent Whistle, NFL Declines Comment

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Joe Burrow scrambled to his right and found Tyler Boyd in the back fo the endzone to give the Cincinnati Bengals a 20-6 lead over the Las Vegas Raiders near the end of the first half. It was the signature play of the young quarterback's playoff career, which promises to be long and fruitful. It also should not have counted due to an inadvertent whistle.

The confusion is obvious. The side judge appeared to think Burrow had stepped out and the sound of the play being blown dead is clear as day. It wouldn't have changed anything because no Raider was within a six-foot radius of Boyd, but rules are rules. NBC's officiating expert Terry McAulay explained the situation as the broadcast team attempted to catch up.

The NFL isn't talking about it. Drew Brees heard the whistle but declined to comment on it until several minutes later. It's all weird. Some are saying Jerome Boger has struck again.

By the letter of the law, the down should have been replayed. Raiders fans will tell you they were screwed here, but the whistle, if noticed by the officials, would have been a massive injustice to a great play. And anyone watching that Bengals' drive would suggest it would have found the end zone anyway.

Derek Carr was able to answer with a score of his own to bring his team within seven at halftime.