What’s a little football without a little controversy?
The Kansas City Chiefs outlasted the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 in an absolute slugfest of a football game on Sunday night, as both teams traded body blow for body blow from start to finish. Considering that their three prior match-ups were decided by a field goal in each case, it was no surprise that it would come down to the leg of either Harrison Butker or Evan McPherson.
For 60 minutes both teams were deadlocked as Joe Burrow and Patrick Mahomes put on a show, with each matching the wits of the other in a 20-20 game late in the fourth quarter.
However, the game will probably be best remembered for the number of crucial penalties and bizarre calls that overshadowed the game. Let’s just say when head referee Ron Torbert’s name is trending in social media circles that is never a good thing.
Case in point, in the middle of the third quarter, the Chiefs were unable to convert a third and nine at their own 34. With the punt teams coming onto the field the officials suddenly stopped play. Apparently it was deemed that the third down play never happened due to a ball spotting issue, and the referees asked that the third and nine be replayed. Bengals head caoch Zach Taylor completely lost it on the refs.
Eventually Cincinnati would force Kansas City to punt, but the dye was cast. It was not only Chiefs vs. Bengals, but it was Bengals vs. Refs. Whether it was holding calls that were questionable, or an intentional grounding call on Joe Burrow late in the fourth quarter, the Bengals sideline erupted in fury at every flag.
Zac Taylor is LIVID over that intentional grounding call pic.twitter.com/CPD0h9dbFO— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) January 30, 2023
The candle that broke the camels back came at the finish when a battered Patrick Mahomes rolled to his right and dashed toward the sideline to put the Chiefs in field goal range, but was tackled out of bounds by Bengals linebacker Joseph Ossai, who was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. With eight seconds to go, the flag — which was the right call — moved the ball 15-yards closer for Harrison Butker who kicked the game winner to send Kansas City to the Super Bowl.