What's a playoff game without a dash of controversy, right? One of the more head-scratching moments of Kansas City's AFC Championship Game victory over the Bengals on Sunday came in the fourth quarter when it looked like the officials gave the Chiefs what essentially felt like a do-over on a third-and-9 attempt, which they initially failed to convert.
Ron Torbert's officiating crew identified a clock issue and one of the officials tried to stop the play before the ball was snapped, but it was too loud at Arrowhead Stadium for that mandate for the play to actually be shut down. So, that failed conversion on the initial attempt was really a play that wouldn't have counted and Torbert then announced they would restart the third-down try. While Torbert was adhering to the rule, the call did come in very late, which made it feel like Kansas City was effectively getting a do-over on what otherwise would have been a situation where they'd have to punt.
"Gene, sort this out." pic.twitter.com/WpIRNoM9ao— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) January 30, 2023
Cincinnati wasn't burned too badly by this call as the Chiefs would eventually punt, but K.C. was able to get a first down on the second third-and-9 attempt thanks to a holding call on Eli Apple.
"On the previous play, there was an incomplete pass," Torbert said of the situation after the game, via the pool report. "We spotted the ball, but the line judge came in and re-spotted the ball because the spot was off. We reset the play clock and the game clock started running. It should not have started running because there was an incomplete pass on the previous play. The field judge noticed that the game clock was running. He was coming in to shut the play down so that we could get the clock fixed but nobody heard him, and the play was run. After the play was over, he came in and we discussed that he was trying to shut the play down before the ball had been snapped. So, we reset the game clock back to where it was before that snap and replayed third down."
When asked what the normal protocols are for when a play can't get stopped in time and the play gets off, but the situation doesn't affect the play, Torbert reiterated: "If we were trying to shut down the play and we couldn't, we would shut it down and go back and replay the down."
After that situation, the score remained at 20 apiece before the Chiefs were able to move down the field with 30 seconds left on the clock to set up a game-winning kick by Harrison Butker to send them to Super Bowl LVII.