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You’d think that a spike would be pretty much the easiest, most unremarkable, most trouble-free play you could pull off in an NFL game. And most times, you’d be right. But Patrick Mahomes somehow got called for intentional grounding on a spike, costing the Chiefs a chance at more points in their Sunday matchup against the Browns.
The story: with the seconds winding down in the first half, the Browns got popped for a defensive offsides penalty, but since the Chiefs got 23 yards on the play, Kansas City wisely declined. Mahomes brought the team up to the line, and apparently believed the clock was still running, since the penalty had been declined.
Alas, no. You can’t spike to stop the clock when the clock is already stopped. That’s, in effect, the shortest incomplete pass possible, and the refs called intentional grounding. That would have run the remaining eight seconds off the clock and ended the half, but Kansas City used a timeout to halt the runoff.
Unfortunately, Mahomes wasn’t able to do anything with those last eight seconds; he threw a long interception to cornerback Denzel Rice, and the Chiefs hit the locker room up an unexpectedly small six points on Cleveland, 21-15.
The move confused longtime football watchers, since it seemed to fall in between two sets of rules: the definition of “intentional grounding” and the inability to spike the ball on a stopped clock.
Intentional grounding on a spike. Add it to the list of remarkable achievements Mahomes is piling up this year.
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