Brock Osweiler played one of his best games as a member of the Texans on Monday night in Mexico against the Raiders. His team lost 27-20, but he completed 26 of the 39 passes he threw for 243 yards and a touchdown. His passer rating for the game was 81.5, which is higher than his season average of 74.9, and if not for a bunch of dropped passes, all of his stats could have been better. And he did all of this in spite of a fan who tried to distract him throughout the game by shining a green laser pointer in his face from the stands.
During the game, the NFL told ESPN that they were actively trying to locate the fan and remove him or her from Estadio Azteca. It’s unclear if they were ever able to do that, but after the game, Osweiler spoke with the Houston Chronicle about the laser and said that it was "very distracting."
"I’m still gathering information on what exactly took place, but all I know at this point is when we were out there on the field on offense, there were multiple times I saw a green laser coming from the stands," he said. "There were a couple times it definitely hit me in the eye. And it was very noticeable. I never want to say one thing is a difference-maker, but certainly, having a laser zoomed in on your eyeball definitely affects how you play a game."
Osweiler stopped short of blaming the Texans’ loss to the Raiders on the laser pointer, but he said it played a role in his performance.
"I’ve never experienced a laser being shined in my eyeball during a football game, let alone a professional football game in the National Football League," he said. "So I think that was certainly disappointing. At the end of the day, that’s not why we lost the game. That was just one small factor, but it certainly affected how I was playing."
Players on the other side of the field said they noticed the laser pointer, too. Raiders star Khalil Mack, who recorded a sack during the game, said he was confused when he first saw the green laser pointer fixated on Osweiler. "That was kind of weird," he said after the game. "I saw that and I thought I was in the Twilight Zone."
This isn’t the first time a laser pointer has been used to distract players during an NFL game. The Lions launched an investigation after a Detroit fan shined a laser point on Bills players during a game in 2014. Other sports have been forced to deal with laser pointers, too. Back in January, a Jazz fan was banned from NBA arenas for a year after he used a laser pointer on James Harden, and most recently, referees had to stop a Baylor football game to ask fans to stop using laser pointers in September.