In an NFL season full of horrific officiating by the referees, two horrific missed calls in the span of a few minutes could doom the New England Patriots against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Kansas City Chiefs were driving downfield late in the third quarter with a 23-13 lead. Tight end Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce hauled in a short pass, only to have it punched out by Patriots safety Devin McCourty.
Cornerback Stephon Gilmore scooped it up immediately and was headed to the end zone for a touchdown. Instead, the referees ruled the play dead, believing Kelce was down. Bill Belichick was forced to use his final challenge to overturn the call and to get the football after the replay.
New England’s offense quickly moved down the field down by 10 points. Tom Brady hit N’Keal Harry on a short pass and the receiver found his way to the end zone, only to be ruled out for stepping out of bounds at the three-yard line.
As the replay clearly showed, Harry never came close to stepping out of bounds. Yet because the Patriots were out of challenges and it wasn’t originally ruled correctly, which would have resulted in an automatic review, the Patriots were robbed of a touchdown again.
The two decisions proved costly for New England. The drive stalled at the five-yard line and the Patriots had to settle for the field goal. What should have been a three-point deficit became a 23-16 game, which proved costly in a 23-16 finish.