Why NFL refs awarded Kansas City Chiefs extra third-down attempt vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Nick Wagner/nwagner@kcstar.com

A Kansas City Chiefs drive early in the fourth quarter was aided by an extra play from the NFL officials ... who awarded the Chiefs a second shot at a third-down attempt after they came up short initially.

Here’s what happened.

The original third-down play was shut down — or at least was supposed to be — prior to the snap. The clock was running despite the Chiefs throwing an incomplete pass, and thus the play shouldn’t have happened while the referees reset the clock.

One referee made an attempt to blow the play dead, but the teams didn’t react; Patrick Mahomes threw a short pass that left the Chiefs with four or five more yards to go for the first down, and thus they were set to punt.

Or not.

Then came an officiating huddle, followed by the ultimate ruling that the play was supposed to be shut down prior to the snap. Bengals coach Zac Taylor was furious over the announcement from the officials. The Chiefs’ offense ran back on the field for another attempt.

The result? Patrick Mahomes was sacked on the do-over, only the Chiefs got the first down. Bengals cornerback Eli Apple held Chiefs wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, giving the Chiefs a fresh set of downs.

The Chiefs gained only one more yard after that play, and Tommy Townsend booted a 42-yard punt to pin the Bengals at their own 18 in a 20-20 ballgame.