But in the immediate aftermath of that game, all anyone is talking about — especially in Kansas City — is an offsides call that wiped out what would have been the go-ahead touchdown for the Chiefs, and might have been the Play of the Year.
As discussed here, with the Chiefs trailing by three and just over a minute remaining, Patrick Mahomes dropped to throw, and found tight end Travis Kelce deep over the middle. The tight end pulled in the throw and turned upfield, but then recalled his quarterback days, throwing a perfect spiral to Toney, who raced into the end zone for what looked like the go-ahead score:
However, a flag was down.
Because Toney lined up offsides.
That took the TD off the board, and left the Chiefs looking for another big play. But as CBS Sports broadcaster Jim Nantz noted, the wind had certainly been taken out of their sails. And when the Chiefs failed on a fourth-down conversion try, Mahomes was beyond heated on the sidelines:
Patrick Mahomes very emotional on the sidelines. pic.twitter.com/nkq3kIvDqa— NFL on CBS (@NFLonCBS) December 11, 2023
That ire carried over to the locker room, and was mirrored by his coach.
"To take away greatness like that ... I know as fans you want to see the guys on the field decide the game."— NFL on CBS (@NFLonCBS) December 11, 2023
- Patrick Mahomes on the offsides call that negated a TD pic.twitter.com/AVh2CWsjli
Reid called it “embarrassing” for the NFL:
Here’s Andy Reid’s thoughts on the call: “Usually I get a warning before something like that happens. It's a bit embarrassing in the National Football League for that to take place. I’ve been in the league for a long time… Haven’t had one like that.” https://t.co/COm68xRjnL— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) December 11, 2023
For both the coach and the quarterback, their fault lies with the process, and not the underlying call itself. Both Reid and Mahomes acknowledge that Toney was aligned offsides, but both point out that typically, a warning is given before such a flag is thrown.
Which is what Mahomes points out here, while sending some love Josh Allen’s way:
Patrick Mahomes makes clear it isn't about whether it was offsides or not - he recognizes Toney was close to the line and "barely" over. It's about the typical protocol when it comes to offensive offsides. Generally, there is communication between the ref and the wide receiver.…— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) December 11, 2023
Officiating has certainly been a story throughout this season, and given how this game ended, you can be sure it will remain a topic of conversation all week long.
If not longer.