NFL officials have tried to explain what happened on a controversial third down in the fourth quarter of the AFC Championship Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cincinnati Bengals.
On third down with just over 10 minutes left in the game, the Bengals stopped the Chiefs to bring up what was thought to have been fourth down. However, the officials determined that a whistle was blown before the ball broke, and instead of the Chiefs preparing to punt, they were given another chance to try to convert on third down.
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The noise at Arrowhead Stadium apparently prevented the other officials from hearing the whistle. Bengals coach Zac Taylor was furious on the sidelines. On the next play, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was sacked for an 8-yard loss, but Bengals cornerback Eli Apple was called for holding the play.
In the group’s report, the officials explained what was happening. Pro Football Writers Association reporter Ben Baby asked referee Ron Torbert to explain what happened on the third down repeat.
«On the previous play, there was an incomplete pass. We located the ball, but the linesman came in and set the ball back because the point was off target,» Torbert explained. “We reset the play clock and the game clock started running. He shouldn’t have started running because there was an incompletion on the previous play.
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«The field judge noticed that the game clock was running. He was coming to stop the play so we could fix the clock, but no one heard him and the play was executed. After the play was over, he came in and we discussed that he was trying to stop the play before the ball was broken. So, we reset the game clock to where it was before the play and replayed the third down.»
The move angered some fans on social media. Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase was among those upset with the extra down.
Fortunately, for the Bengals, the defense was able to hold off the Chiefs and force them to punt after three extra plays.
On Cincinnati’s ensuing drive, Joe Burrow threw an interception. The score remained tied 20-20 for the time being with less than 7 minutes to play.
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Harrison Butker would kick the go-ahead field goal with seconds left.