- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 21, 2017

ASHBURN, Virginia — This season, multiple players in the NFL have tried to reach across the goal line for a touchdown, only to fumble through the end zone — resulting in a touchback for the other team.

The latest instance happened Sunday night to Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who fumbled with 31 seconds left to seal a 20-17 Cowboys win.

The plays are rare and the rule is controversial, but a similar situation almost happened to Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins.

During the Redskins’ loss to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 10, Cousins reached across the goal line and scored, though the referees didn’t initially signal a score. Instead, the Vikings recovered the fumble and ran it back for a touchdown of their own.

Cousins‘ score was confirmed on replay, but the quarterback said Wednesday that it can be hard not to instinctively reach out to make a play.

“I was always coached, going back to college, never reach out unless it’s fourth-and-goal, never reach out,” Cousins said. “But it is tempting when you have it there to just reach out and get the six points.”

Cousins said he uses “situational awareness” to judge whether it’s worth taking a risk to make a play. On Carr’s fumble, Cousins pointed out how the Raiders‘ QB already had gotten a first down, so there was no need to risk the play.

“It just was a reminder to me of how fragile the game is when you can leave that game feeling on top of the world and the difference is just so small,” Cousins said. “It doesn’t mean that the Raiders are bad and the Cowboys are great, you know? It just shows that the margin for error is so small and you have to do whatever you can to fight for those inches.”

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