The Chiefs' right tackle has been under the spotlight since his illegal alignment and apparent false starts went largely uncalled in Week 1 against the Detroit Lions. Since then, he has gotten away with little in the eyes of NFL officials.
In Week 2, Taylor was flagged for five penalties and found himself briefly benched by head coach Andy Reid. Taylor was flagged two more times in Week 3, prompting calls from Reid and quarterback Patrick Mahomes that officials were unfairly targeting Taylor for penalties.
Is Jawaan Taylor 'picked on'
"He might be being picked on just a little bit here, I felt today," Reid said after the 41-0 win over the Bears last week.
Mahomes described the attention on Taylor as "wild to me." The complaints echoed those of Chiefs fans that have lingered on social media since Week 2. Sunday's call on Taylor against the New York Jets isn't going to tamp them down.
Borderline call on Sunday leads to 2 points for Jets
The Chiefs kept the Jets off the scoreboard through the first quarter as they built a 17-0 lead. Then a facemask penalty on Taylor early in the second put the Jets on the board.
Following a punt, the Chiefs started a drive deep in their own territory at the 4-yard line. On second-and-10, Mahomes dropped back into the end zone. Jets linebacker Bryce Huff pursued Mahomes off the edge and beat Taylor on the play. Taylor responded by grabbing Huff's facemask.
The Jets just scored without touching the ball.
New York gets a safety because Jawaan Taylor was flagged for a facemask. pic.twitter.com/xWgKIayHPT
— Arye Pulli (@AryePulli) October 2, 2023
Officials penalized Taylor for the infraction. And because they determined that the penalty incurred in the end zone, it resulted in a safety. That's two points for the Jets and loss of possession for the Chiefs.
Did the refs get this one right?
The penalty was a no-brainer. Taylor very clearly grabbed Huff's facemask. But the determination of a safety is suspect.
Replay video from the sideline shows that Taylor first grabbed Huff's facemask outside the end zone. The penalty initially took place closer to the 1-yard line. If the penalty didn't start in the end zone, it shouldn't have resulted in a safety.
"It is where it starts," NBC rules analyst Terry McAulay explained. "So if that grasp occurs in the field of play before he's in the end zone, it's not a safety."
McAuley said that NBC spoke with the NFL's replay officials who made the safety call. Per McAuley, "they believe it occurred right over the goal line and is a safety."
The video above shows that Taylor first grabbed Huff's facemask outside the end zone. But safety was the call, and the Jets scored their first points of the night. The turnover resulted in a Jets field goal on their ensuing possession to cut their deficit to 17-5.
Another controversial call helps Jets on TD drive
Making matters worse for the Chiefs, another questionable penalty aided the Jets to a touchdown on their next drive. New York took over possession in Kansas City territory after a Mahomes interception. On their first play from scrimmage, running back Breece Hall was tackled for a 2-yard gain after a screen pass. But the play yielded 17 yards when officials flagged Derrick Nnadi for a horse-collar tackle on the play.
Here's the tackle. Nnadi grabbed the front of Hall's jersey and dragged him to the turf.
— Devon Clements (@DevclemNFL) October 2, 2023
A horse collar penalty is called when a defender grabs a player from the back or side by the collar.
"No, that's not a horse collar tackle," McAuley said. "It's gotta be inside the collar on the side or in the back in the nameplate area. This is in the front. This is not a a horse collar tackle."
It was deemed a horse collar tackle on the field, and the penalty advanced the Jets to the Chiefs' 29-yard line. Six plays later, quarterback Zach Wilson found C.J. Uzomah for a touchdown that cut New York's deficit to 17-12.