The Kansas City Chiefs were the beneficiaries of a defensive holding penalty called on New York Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner late in the fourth quarter of Kansas City’s 23-20 win over New York in Week 4.
The penalty happened on a 3rd-and-20 play that had originally resulted in a Patrick Mahomes interception. Instead, the Chiefs picked up a first down, which helped them drain out the remaining time in the game.
On Monday, October 2, Mahomes spoke with 610SportsKC and defended the key fourth-quarter penalty.
“At the end of the day, you get your hands around the guy’s neck like 15 yards downfield, they’re gonna call something, it’s gonna be holding or illegal contact,” Mahomes said. “Once I saw him grab him, I threw it up there to give Marquez (Valdes-Scantling) a chance kinda knowing the flag was gonna come.”
Gardner caught wind of Mahomes’ comments about the penalty and took to Twitter/X to give his own perspective on the play.
“Since we are commenting, let me say it from my perspective,” Gardner wrote. “For starters, this was around 5-7 yds from the LOS… not 15. 2. I extended my arms and he made the choice to lean on me with all of his weight which caused my hand to slide to the back of his pad; not his neck. I did not grab him, I actually made a conscious effort to remove my right arm as you can see in the video he then tried to swim with his right hand and I pushed his arm down with my left hand lmaoo.. There yall have it. It was not a holding or illegal contact. Ohh my fault, it was holding bc he threw the flag.”
Sauce Gardner: Chiefs Bailed Out by Holding Penalty
Prior to sharing his perspective on the fourth-quarter penalty on Monday, Gardner had some strong thoughts about the penalty when asked about it during his postgame press conference on October 1.
“The receiver ran into me, there was a collision, same thing that was happening all game and they ain’t throw no flags. Pat [Mahomes] threw the ball outside of the receiver, MC [Michael Carter II] was there, he made the play, then the ref threw the flag,” Gardner said.
“Me personally, that’s like when you play basketball 1-on-1 and you go up to lay the ball up and they wait to see you miss and then they say foul. Honestly, I can’t believe that. That was just crazy. Like I don’t even think they threw the ball my way at me for the first three quarters and then they started throwing checkdowns and then the shot that they try to take, then they finally get bailed out by that. Fourth quarter crunch time? I don’t even know what to say.”
Chiefs Advance to 3-1 With Week 4 Win
Kansas City took a commanding 17-0 lead in the first quarter of their primetime matchup against the Jets, which signaled back-to-back blowout victories for the defending Super Bowl champions. However, a safety followed by an interception by Patrick Mahomes put New York back in the game, and a touchdown right after halftime along with a successful two-point attempt by the Jets made it a 20-20 game in the third quarter.
The Chiefs only scored three points in the second half, but their defense surrendered zero points in the final 30 minutes of play, which allowed them to squeak out a win and advance to 3-1 on the season.
The leading offensive performer for Kansas City was second-year running back Isiah Pacheco, who had 23 total touches for 158 yards and had a 48-yard rushing touchdown on the Chiefs’ first touchdown drive of the game.
Mahomes finished the day having completed 18-of-30 pass attempts for 203 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions. Tight end Travis Kelce (6 catches, 60 yards) was the leading receiver for Kansas City. Backup tight end Noah Gray was the recipient of Mahomes’ 34-yard touchdown pass late in the first quarter.
The Chiefs’ defense allowed 336 yards of total offense to the Jets. The unit forced one turnover (via a fumbled snap by Zach Wilson) and sacked Wilson 2 times.