KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs are in uncharted waters with back-to-back losses and four losses in the last six games.
They are in familiar territory with referees making questionable penalties or no penalties when violations are clear.
On the Chiefs’ last drive of the game against the Buffalo Bills down by three with about 85 seconds left on 2nd and 10, quarterback Patrick Mahomes hit a wide-open Travis Kelce in the middle of the field.
Kelce was running and surrounded by three defenders at the 21-yard line. Like he’s done in the past, Kelce lateraled to receiver Kadarius Toney who was about 10 yards away.
Toney ran the ball the rest of the way untouched for a presumed game-winning touchdown.
The play was called back for offensive offsides.
Head coach Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes were the loudest to voice their frustrations with the referees.
“Normally, if it’s even close, you get a warning. The head coach gets a warning,” Reid said referring to Toney being lined up offside.
“I don’t know. I didn’t have a protractor out there. It’s a bit embarrassing in the National Football League for that to take place. I’ve been in the league a long time and I haven’t had one like that. At least for that kind of position there, it’s not given a heads up to.”
“I’ve played seven years and never had offensive offsides called,” Mahomes said. “That’s elementary school. You point to the ref, do all that different type of stuff and it doesn’t get called and if it does, they warn you, and there was no warning throughout the entire game, and then you wait until there’s a minute left in the game, you make a call like that.
“It’s tough, man. Lost for words, man. Regardless of if we win or lose, just for it to end with another game and we’re talking about the refs. That’s just not what we want for the NFL and for football.”
In the pool report, referee Carl Cheffers, who has a history of making questionable calls in Chiefs games, said if receivers look for alignment advice, they will give it to them but players are responsible for where they line up.
“No warning is required especially if they are lined up so far offsides where they’re actually blocking our view of the ball,” Cheffers said in the report. “We would give them some sort of a warning if it was anywhere close, but this particular one is beyond a warning.”
“That’s what the down judge saw. He saw that the alignment was over the ball and that’s what he ruled on the field.”
There have been 13 offensive offside penalties in the NFL this season with only three coming last season and none in 2021.
Some Chiefs players like linebacker Willie Gay, did their best to not speak about the referees.
“Just one of them days man,” Gay said. “Call didn’t go our way and all we can do is try to respond in a positive way. It’s hard, but is what it is, just gotta move on.”
“It was a great play, just unfortunate,” guard Trey Smith said. “We can just be better on it at the end of the day but the game doesn’t come down to one play. End of the day, we gotta be better in different phases of the game.”
“That’s why he’s a Hall of Famer,” cornerback Trent McDuffie said about Kelce. “I don’t know anybody that’s gonna make that play in that scenario, two minutes to win the game.”
Some players thought the tape proved otherwise.
“Wanted to hold judgment until I saw it,” receiver Justin Watson said about the play. “I just think the picture speaks for itself and I’ll leave it at that.”
The Chiefs are on the road next week to face the New England Patriots at noon on FOX4.