Controversy took over a big chunk of the AFC title game’s fourth quarter between the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs.
Referee Ron Torbert’s crew wiped out a failed third-down try by the Chiefs and permitted a do-over.
According to the pool writeup, Torbert says a field judge was trying to wave off the first third-down play because the game clock operator made a mistake, via Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic:
“On the previous play, there was an incomplete pass. 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.”
That won’t make the Bengals or most anyone watching the game feel any better. The Bengals were then hit with a flag to extend the drive but eventually forced a punt. That officials couldn’t get a handle on stopping a play while the home offense had the ball is a problem.
Most likely, the league will now “review” the protocol for these situations and make adjustments, but it’s the Bengals who had to take the very rare, public hit for this apparent oversight to get exposed.
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