How the refs made the Chiefs job harder against the Raiders

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 19: Jared Cook
OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 19: Jared Cook /

The referees certainly made the Kansas City Chiefs’ job much harder than it already was against the Oakland Raiders on Thursday night.

I’m never one to blame the referees for a team’s loss, but man they were bad Thursday night. They weren’t the reason the Kansas City Chiefs lost but they sure didn’t make it any easier.

Before I go any further, I want to make sure I say that the refs did not lose this game. No fan in K.C. should be saying the refs cost us this game because they didn’t. Andy Reid lost the game by playing not to lose by not trusting his offense to go win the game when they got the ball back with 4:07 left in the fourth quarter. Bob Sutton lost the game by not adjusting to giving up the big play all game. Rather than blitz Carr and keep the pressure on him the way they have for three years successfully, he sat back and played run defense because he still thought the Steelers were playing. The defense itself lost this game because they couldn’t stop shooting themselves in the foot on deep balls.

All that said, the refs themselves also had a very bad game. Let’s review just how bad they were. We can start with the Raiders first drive of the game and the offensive pass interference that didn’t get called.

I thought it was a call that could have gone either way. Terrance Mitchell lost track of where he was on the field and drifted right into Amari Cooper and they got tangled up both looking for the ball. Yes Cooper did give Mitchell a little push—no doubt about that—but it wasn’t an extended arm shove; it was a little nudge that happens on most deep balls. By the letter of the law, it was pass interference but that’s a 50/50 call that I’m okay them not calling. If that was Demarcus Robinson against Sean Smith, and they called Robinson on the same play, Chiefs’ fans would be screaming about how ticky tack that was.

The most atrocious call of the night was the illegal hands to the face call on Eric Murray costing the Chiefs a fumble recovery. The replay showed that not only did Murray never even touch the receivers’ helmet, but he didn’t touch him after five yards, hold him or do anything else illegal on the play. See for yourself.

The Chiefs should have had the ball on the Raiders 20-yard line up 10-3 with a chance to really put a dagger into the Raiders early. If you want to say the refs cost the Chiefs this game, this is the only call I think you have a good argument with. Murray did nothing wrong and that should have been a fumble, no doubt and not even close.

Marcus Peters isn’t known to have a cool head, but the personal foul penalty he got for a late hit on Carr was bad. The first part that is easy to prove is that it wasn’t a late hit because the refs had not blown the play dead. Watch it again and listen for the whistle. It didn’t blow until after Peters made contact.

More from Arrowhead Addict

So the late hit was a bad call, but maybe it was unnecessary roughness? Nope, it wasn’t that either because he did not lead with his helmet. He led with his shoulder and hit Carr in the shoulder, a perfectly legal hit. Well but Carr was a QB so they will protect them right? No, that doesn’t work either because Carr was no longer a protected QB behind the line of scrimmage. He was a runner.

It was a designed running play and Carr ran past the line of scrimmage, turning the Raiders quarterback into a runner no different than a running back or wideout. That means you can throw him down or gang tackle him just like anyone else. The only thing Peters did was put a vicious hit on a player, but because it looked hard and was on a QB near the scrimmage, the ref panicked and made the wrong call. Thankfully Marshawn Lynch saved the Chiefs by coming onto the field and getting a penalty and ejected pushing the Raiders back 15 yards.

The last questionable call came on the one of the last plays of the game when Jared Cook caught a pass that was ruled a touchdown with 16 seconds left. The call was reversed when replay showed that Cook’s butt had hit the ground before the ball crossed the goal line.

The problem with this comes if the call had been made right from the start it is questionable whether the Raiders could have gotten another play off. Guys were celebrating and the line would have had to run 30 yards and everyone would have had to get back in place in time to either spike the ball or run a play. At best they could have clocked the ball with one or two seconds left, maybe got snap off at one second to run a play but also may have ran out of time and game would have been over.

I’ve seen some tweets with video showing the ref hesitate like maybe he was going to call him down and then changed his mind to touchdown. It also looks like he may be confirming the call with another official before making the call. Either way I’m ok with this call. Nobody believed he was short until they saw the replay. The Chiefs got a 10-second run off and more chances to keep the Raiders out of the end zone.

The refs were bad from the first quarter to the last. They made poor calls all game, but for most of the game it was pretty even. Tyreek Hill was clearly facemasked on a punt return when his helmet got ripped off and there was no call. Eric Murray tackled a receiver in the end zone and the refs didn’t make the call. As always they missed holding calls on pass rushers all game. Sometimes they called ticky tack stuff; sometimes they swallowed the whistle and let them play. I am sure this group will not enjoy their review meeting on Monday and I doubt you see many of them in the postseason if they have any other games even close to this.

Despite all these bad calls and a horrible night by the guys in stripes, the Chiefs lost this game because of the guys in red. The Chiefs made enough dumb plays in this game that nobody is to blame but every single guy in that locker room from coaches to players. Even Dustin Colquitt shanked a punt in the fourth quarter when the team needed a big punt to help the defense. In fact, the only person I give a free pass to in this game is Harrison Butker. He nailed all his kicks and bombed all his kickoffs. Outside of him, I can’t say anyone else did their job on Thursday, and yes that includes the refs.