Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan declined to reveal exactly what Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones said to him to draw an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty late in the fourth quarter of the Colts-Chiefs Week 3 matchup.
NFL referee Shawn Smith didn’t disclose exactly what was said either. But Smith did tell the media after the game that Jones “used abusive language towards an opponent.”
The penalty proved to be a pivotal point in the game. Instead of facing a fourth-and-6, the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty called on Jones gave the Indianapolis Colts a fresh set of downs. At the time, Indianapolis trailed by 4 with under 5 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Colts took advantage of Jones’ penalty, driving 54 yards after the foul to score the game-winning touchdown with 24 seconds left.
Jones Explains What Happened, Takes Responsibility for Penalty
The Chiefs defensive tackle explained to the media that he was frustrated about getting called for the penalty and added that he didn’t think he “said anything horrendous.”
“I thought we were having a conversation with one another, but you never know what the official’s seeing,” Jones said. “He could have heard something that wasn’t allowed.”
Interestingly, though, Jones also didn’t reveal exactly what he said. Colts insider Joel A. Erickson theorized that Jones and Ryan were both trash talking to each other.
It wasn’t easy to tell what was or wasn’t being said while watching the game live, but the CBS broadcast during the game showed the face masks of both Jones and Ryan against one another’s after the Chiefs’ third-down stop.
“From the sounds of it, the Chiefs defensive tackle and the Colts quarterback were exchanging words back and forth, and Jones crossed a line,” Erickson wrote. “Trash talk in the NFL is normal between plays, and players are rarely flagged for the spoken word.”
The second chance on the final drive was all Ryan and the Colts would need. The 37-year-old quarterback went 6 for 7 with 50 passing yards and a touchdown on the possession after the Jones penalty. Ryan found rookie tight end Jelani Woods in the end zone for the second time to give the Colts a 3-point lead in the final minute of regulation.
While he initially shared his frustration and confusion over the penalty call, Jones also took responsibility for the mistake.
“I’ll take that one, it was my fault. It was definitely my fault,” Jones told the media after the game. “As a veteran player on this team, I got to be better with those types of things, especially with those situations.
“But it won’t happen again for me. I’ll take full blame. Apologize to my team for putting us in that type of situation.”
Ryan Sends Message to Jones
As cool as he was on the final drive, Ryan kept the same calm demeanor when answering questions about the Jones penalty after the game. That was also the quarterback’s takeaway point for the Chiefs defensive tackle.
“Sometimes, you gotta keep your cool,” said Ryan.
Nicknamed Matty Ice, Ryan led the Colts to a fourth-quarterback comeback on September 25. It was Ryan’s 43rd fourth-quarterback comeback of his career. That’s the most in the NFL since he was drafted in 2008.