The Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills added another competitive game to a growing recent history of them between the two sides, and Buffalo came out on top this time around with a 20-17 win.
The game’s ending stirred some debate, however, after a controversial offsides penalty negated Kansas City’s late go-ahead touchdown.
Patrick Mahomes on Penalty: “Tough To Swallow”
Facing 2nd-and-10 from the Bills’ 49-yard line with less than 1:30 left in the fourth quarter, Patrick Mahomes dropped back and fired a pass to Travis Kelce, who caught it and ran with it for several yards. Kelce then lateraled the ball to Kadarius Toney, and he ran the rest of the way for a touchdown.
The improbable play did not stand for long, though, as Toney was flagged for lining up offside. Mahomes then had three straight passes which fell incomplete as the Chiefs failed to pick up a first down and saw their hopes of winning the contest slip away.
Mahomes was visibly furious with the offsides call on the sidelines after the drive ended and had to be held back by teammates.
Mahomes expressed his disdain with the call after the game as well when asked about it by reporters.
“It’s obviously tough to swallow,” Mahomes said. “Not only for me but just for football in general. To take away greatness like that. For a guy like Travis to make a play like that and, who knows if we win?
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“But I know as fans, you want to see the guys on the field decide the game. That’s why last week, I didn’t say anything about the flag that didn’t get called on Marquez [Valdes-Scantling]. They’re human, they make mistakes, but it’s every week we’re talking about something.
“I saw the picture. He’s barely offside. It didn’t affect the play at all. At all.”
Mahomes’ comments prompted a strong response from NFL fans across Twitter. One user commented that Mahomes was saying the league should call the rules differently for him and added, “How bout no!”
The no-call Mahomes referenced came late in last week’s 27-19 loss to the Green Bay Packers. Mahomes lofted a pass up to Chiefs wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who appeared to be hit early and interfered with as the pass fell incomplete, but no penalty flag was thrown.
Kansas City now seems to believe it got the short end of the stick officiating-wise in back-to-back narrow losses.
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said Sunday’s offside call on Toney is not something he has witnessed previously during his lengthy career as an NFL head coach.
“Very disappointed that it ended the way that it did,” Reid said. “Normally, I get a warning before something like that happens in a big game. A bit embarrassing in the National Football League for that to take place.
“Normally, if it’s even close, you get a warning. The head coach gets a warning. I don’t know, I didn’t have a protractor out there. It’s a bit embarrassing.”
Official Carl Cheffers was asked during the postgame pool report whether Toney was warned that he was offside.
“If it’s egregious enough, it would be beyond a warning,” Cheffers said. “So really regardless of whether or not he was warned at other times during the day, if it was an egregious alignment to where he was over the ball — whether he had warnings or not — it would still be a foul.”
Cheffers also said Toney was in egregious alignment on the play, according to Bills beat reporter Matt Parrino.
Another commenter pushed back on Mahomes’ notion that the players did not decide the game.
“But he was literally offsides lol the players did decide the game,” the user tweeted. “Toney decided to line up in the neutral zone.”
Gene Steratore, a former NFL official who now serves as CBS’ rules analyst, provided his two cents on the call via a post to X (formerly known as Twitter).
“When officiating the line of scrimmage, general philosophy is not to be overly technical and split hairs over very minor infractions (such as a receiver’s hand slightly breaking the LOS),” Steratore tweeted. “However, when an infraction is so egregious and obvious, a flag has to be thrown. Kadarius Toney is blatantly lined up offside and in the neutral zone.
“You rarely see an offsides penalty on the offense, but that is not because this play in #BUFvsKC isn’t a foul. It is because a receiver rarely lines up offsides.”
Kansas City (8-5) will look to put a second straight tough loss behind it and get back on track next Sunday when it travels to face the New England Patriots (3-10), which were recently eliminated from the playoff race.
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