Patrick Mahomes’ smart decision with less than two minutes to go cost Chiefs bettors on Sunday night.
Mahomes slid down between the end zone and the first-down marker on a third-down scramble to guarantee the Chiefs a 23-20 win over the New York Jets. But because Mahomes didn’t score, the Chiefs didn’t cover the spread. Kansas City spent much of the week favored by more than a touchdown before the line was bet down to 6.5 points in the hours before kickoff.
The Chiefs had the ball facing a third-and-8 on the Jets’ 11-yard-line right after the two-minute warning. With the Jets out of timeouts, a first down effectively ended the game, while a TD gave the Chiefs a likely insurmountable two-score lead.
Mahomes chose to end the game. As the Jets ran man coverage on third down and apparently didn’t have a spy for Mahomes, the reigning NFL MVP ran to his left and slid to the ground past the first-down marker but short of the end zone.
— Yahoo Sports NFL (@YahooSportsNFL) October 2, 2023
Of course, it's no guarantee that the Chiefs would've covered the spread had Mahomes scored. The Jets could've driven down the field and scored a TD or kicked a late field goal to affect some bettors' tickets before attempting an onside kick. But had Mahomes gotten into the end zone, Chiefs bettors would've been feeling pretty good.
The Chiefs had the ball for the final 7:24 of the game on a lengthy drive that went just 51 yards. Mahomes converted a key third down earlier in the drive with a 25-yard scramble, and the Chiefs got another third-down conversion with a controversial holding call on Jets CB Sauce Gardner.
Mahomes finished the game with 51 rushing yards and was 18-of-30 passing for 203 yards, a TD and two interceptions.