NFL officials have attempted to explain what happened during a controversial third down in the fourth quarter of the AFC Championship Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cincinnati Bengals.
On 3rd down with just over 10 minutes left in the game, the Bengals stopped the Chiefs to bring up what was thought to be fourth down. However, officials determined that a whistle was blown before the ball was snapped and instead of the Chiefs preparing to kick, they were given another chance to try and convert on third down.
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The noise in Arrowhead Stadium apparently prevented 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 off for holding the play.
In the pool report, officials explained what was going on. Pro Football Writers Association reporter Ben Baby asked referee Ron Torbert to explain what happened on the third down replay.
“On the previous play there was an incomplete pass. We spotted the ball, but the linesman came in and replaced the ball because the point was off,” Torbert explained. “We reset the game clock and the game clock started running. It shouldn’t have started running because there was an incomplete pass in the previous game.
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“The court judge noticed the game clock was ticking. He was coming to stop the game so we could set the clock, but no one heard him and the game was run. Once the game was over, he came in and discussed with us that he was trying to stop play before the ball was broken, so we put the game clock back to where it was before that snap and replayed third down.
The play enraged some fans on social media. Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase was among those upset about the extra down.
Luckily for the Bengals, the defense was able to hold their own against the Chiefs and force them to punt after three more plays.
On Cincinnati’s next drive, Joe Burrow threw an interception. The score remained tied at 20-20 so far with less than 7 minutes to go.
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Harrison Butker would kick the basket with seconds left.