Left tackle Taylor Lewan’s costly penalty hampered the Tennessee Titans’ hopes of tying Sunday’s game, and may have created other fires as well.
Lewan was assessed 15 yards for unnecessary roughness after launching himself into the pile where receiver Tajae Sharpe was at the bottom after catching a pass and taking the ball down to the 3-yard line.
Lewan’s penalty pushed the ball back to the 18-yard line and the Titans failed to score the tying touchdown in the final minute of the game, getting an offensive pass interference call on Andre Johnson that nullified a tying touchdown.
But after the game, all eyes and ears were on Lewan.
“I really have no idea why they made the call. I’ve done it before. I saw the receiver struggle to get more yards, and a bunch of Raiders were jumping on him, and I just tried to help my teammate. Obviously, it hurt more than it helped,” Lewan said.
Lewan, who apologized to teammates in the locker room after the game, said if faced with the situation again, he would do the same thing again.
“It’s the NFL. You’re not gonna get anywhere being soft. The play was still going. He was up. I was going to clear the pile to help,” Lewan said. “A bunch of guys are jumping on you, do you want me to help you? I’m bummed out, but I was just doing what I thought was right.”
After the play, Lewan was taken out of the game for a minute and replaced by Dennis Kelly. After the game, Lewan said he was removed because officials believed he had suffered a concussion. A defiant Lewan insisted he did not have a concussion, and he returned to the field after sitting out one play.
“He said I got a concussion, and I said, ‘No, I don’t have a concussion.’ I was very frustrated, because it’s not fair to Dennis Kelly who has been on the sideline the whole game to come in cold in the middle of the two-minute situation when I’ve been playing the whole time. That made no sense,” Lewan said.
Also, at the conclusion of the game, Lewan was in a heated exchange on the field with one of the game officials, and a source indicated that the official, umpire Dan Ferrell, cursed at Lewan. It was not clear what Lewan said to Ferrell in the exchange.
Lewan also drew criticism on Twitter from ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit, who lives in the Nashville area.
— Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) September 25, 2016