One key play involving quarterback Patrick Mahomes helped thrust the Kansas City Chiefs past the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship and into the Super Bowl, and one NFC coach had a problem with it.
“That is what the owners want: $40 million skill players flopping on the ground, drawing fouls from [part-time officials who double as] chemistry teachers, medical device salesmen and the like,” an unidentified NFC defensive coach told Mike Sando of The Athletic after Kansas City’s 23-20 victory over Cincinnati on January 29.
With the score tied 20-20 and 17 seconds left in regulation, the Chiefs ran a third-and-4 play from the Bengals’ 47-yard line in which Mahomes dropped back and scrambled to his right before tucking and running past the first-down marker and out of bounds at the 38-yard line.
Though Mahomes picked up the first down, the Chiefs were still out of field goal range. On the play, Bengals linebacker Joseph Ossai was called for unnecessary roughness for shoving Mahomes when he was already out of bounds, giving the Chiefs an extra 15 yards. That set up Kansas City for a 45-yard field goal, which Harrison Butker made with three seconds remaining in the game.
Mahomes Discusses 4th-Quarter Run
Speaking to the media after the game, Mahomes discussed his pivotal run in the fourth quarter and what was going through his mind knowing he was playing with a high-ankle sprain.
“Throughout the game, I think I just tried, I tried to do whatever I could to win and obviously there were times where you could see [the ankle] wouldn’t let me do what I wanted to, but I was able to do enough on that last play to get the first down and get myself out of bounds and try to give Harrison a chance to win. And, obviously, we got the flag when [Ossai] pushed me. He pushed me pretty late there,” Mahomes explained.
“But yeah, I was just trying to – the defense had gotten us stops, like, the last two drives, and we had opportunities to get in field goal range and we didn’t, so I knew I was going to do whatever I could to get us in field goal range. And then Harrison made the kick.”
Twitter Reacts to Mahomes’ 4th-Quarter Run
Twitter users reacted to Mahomes’ fourth-quarter run that set up Kansas City’s game-winning field goal.
“Should have been holding, which would have put the ball at the 42 after that and the late hit were enforced (they would not offset since the late it was a dead ball foul). KC probably would have probably run a quick-out to try to get in range for a closer FG, or a Hail Mary,” one Twitter user wrote.
“Man I don’t know, he didn’t need to be pushed after he was already out but also it’s hard to stop when you’re running full speed,” another user wrote. “That being said the Burrows had their chance to win, they had the ball at the 2 minute warning and got stopped.”
“There have been very questionable calls all season,” another user wrote. “The refs definitely need to be retrained IMO. With last nights game neither team played great, but the Chiefs outplayed the Bengals. The Bengals are a great team and I hope they get an SB…the deserve it.”