O'Hara: Raiola puts the blame of Sunday's loss on himself

Posted Sep 24, 2012

The center did it.

Dominic Raiola ended the mystery over who was at fault on a botched final play in the Lions' 44-41 loss to the Titans by putting the blame on himself.

Raiola snapped the ball to quarterback Shaun Hill on a fourth-down play at the Titans' seven-yard line when the intended play was supposed to be no snap, with the intent to draw the Titans offside and gain a first down.

Had the Titans not jumped offside, coach Jim Schwartz wanted to call time before the play clock ran out and have Jason Hanson kick a tying field goal.

The Titans' defensive line fired off the line at the snap, stopping Hill easily. Raiola was the only lineman who moved. The others were not expecting a snap.

"That's on me," Raiola said Monday. "That's missed execution on my part."

The Lions did not huddle after a third-down pass to Mikel Leshoure made it fourth down with about a foot left for a first down.

The officials measured for a first down after Leshoure's catch, giving the Lions ample time to set up the fourth-down play.

The Lions did not huddle after the third-down play. Hill communicated the fourth-play to the other members of the offense.

"I totally read Shaun's lips the wrong way," Raiola said. "I ran fullback dive. You can see the way I came off the ball. A missed execution on my part.

"I thought it was a dive. I didn't think it was a sneak."

Replays showed Raiola reacting after the play by spreading his arms wide in surprise as he turned to leave the field. That's when he learned that it was a no-snap play.

Crowd noise played a role in the confusion, which begs the question of why the Lions did not huddle in such a critical situation.

"We were trying to get up on the ball, run fast ball, get on the line," Raiola said. "Get them to jump."

Raiola is one of the Lions' smartest players. Nothing close to that has happened in his 12 seasons with the team.

"Never -- I never have in 12 years," Raiola said. "It's a no snap. If I hear the key word, the check, I'm not going to snap it."

Raiola took the play hard. He did not speak to reporters after the game on Sunday, which is unusual for him.

He was waiting at his locker Monday when reporters arrived in the period that is open to the media.

"It still hurts," he said. "It's still fresh. I just let a lot of people down. That's the way I take it.

"It's a big play of the game. A lot people say that's not the play that lost the game. That's so cliché. I take my job pretty serious. To end the game like that sucks.

"I'll take all the blame people want to give me, but I know that staff and this locker room has our back. That's the most important thing. You want to question how I work or whatever, turn on the film and watch my play."