Near the end of the New York Jets win over the Kansas City Chiefs, the Jets got an incredible amount of luck from Chiefs penalties in the longest goal-to-go scenario ever.
We’re not sure if it set any sort of official NFL records, but the New York Jets final drive—the real one that wasn’t just about sealing up the win with a kneel down—felt like the single longest drive of all time. It’s not that the Jets went farther than anyone else or that they were milking the clock all the while. Rather, it was the time taken and number of opportunities in the red zone that made everyone nervous, frustrated and ultimately angry.
In case you somehow missed the end of the game, here’s a complete play by play of what happened and why exactly Chiefs Kingdom hit DEFCON 4 in the process.
With Kansas City up 31-30 in the fourth quarter with 6:05 left on the clock, the Jets are driving and have the ball at the KC 5-yard line. Here’s where the following plays all commence. (Quick note: read again that there are over SIX MINUTES left here and the Jets only need five total yards at this point to score a touchdown and go ahead of the Chiefs):
- The Jets are penalized for failing to get a play off in time. Delay on game on the Jets. Ball goes back 5 yards to the 10 yard line. Still 1st and Goal at the K.C. 10-yard line.
- Matt Forte runs and takes the ball left into a wall known as Bennie Logan. No gain.
- Matt Forte runs again, this time out of bounds after a three yard gain. 3rd-and-7.
- From the shotgun, Josh McCown hits Bilal Powell with a three-yard pass. Jets bring out the field goal unit.
- Chandler Catanzaro makes the short field goal, but Bennie Logan gets called for a personal foul. The Jets get a first down at the KC 1-yard-line if they want it. Of course, they take that option.
- First play of a new set of downs and Bilal Powell loses 3 yards on a serious run stuff. Chiefs look strong in the red zone here .
- Another run by Bilal Powell on 2nd-and-goal (4 yards out) goes nowhere. Literally no gain.
- Given their inability to run the football, Josh McCown takes matters into his own hands but throws incomplete to Robby Anderson. Another set of downs right next to the goal line and the Chiefs have stopped them TWICE… except a holding penalty on cornerback Steven Nelson. Another fresh set of downs, everyone.
- Nelson’s penalty allows the Jets to move the ball half the distance to the goal which is the two-yard line. First play, Bilal Powell gains a single yard. 2nd-and-goal (from the 1-yard line).
- Bilal Powell runs right for no gain. 3rd down again.
- With 2:15 to go—yes only 2:15 to go—McCown finally calls for a QB run and brings it home. Touchdown Jets.
There’s such a swirl of crazy emotion and action inside those nearly four minutes that it’s hard to break down.
How can a smartly coached team like the Kansas City Chiefs, who have one of the most heralded head coaches in the game today and maybe the league’s best special teams coordinator, allow those sorts of mistakes when the game is literally on the line? It was just a total meltdown for the Chiefs, allowing the Jets to have one chance after another until they scored.
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On the flip side, how many times can a team try and score from five yards or less and fail. That’s a tremendous nod to the way the Chiefs defense played down the stretch when it was already thin and clearly fatigued. In some way, if you can see past the penalties and the overall pitiful performance on the day, those stops in the red zone were pretty impressive.
If you’re the Jets, you work all week on your red zone offense. First and goal from the 1 or even the 5-yard line should be automatic. Four full downs to move the ball in such small increments forward. It was bad football on both sides.
Bilal Powell was reportedly injured near the very end of this entire set of downs and I don’t blame him for faking it. Yes I think he’s lying but, you know, I would too if I kept taking the ball and doing absolutely nothing with it. “Ouch, my shoulder!” That’s what I would say as well.
The penalties here are on good players. It’s amazing to me how quickly Chiefs Kingdom got angry on Twitter and started calling out Bennie Logan and Steven Nelson as if they are slightly talented clowns who know Clark Hunt personally and that’s why they’re on the team. These guys are both strong performers and the kind of players we actually want on the defense, so let’s not be so quick to write someone off even if they make a boneheaded mistake.
And make no mistake, those penalties were boneheaded.
In the end, the Chiefs went from being down by 2 points with the ball and four minutes left to being down 7 with 2:15 left. That is the literal result from those penalties. Five total points and 2 more minutes. And in a game that generally comes down to the smallest amounts of difference, those figures are paramount. That’s why the Chiefs lost and that’s why the drive felt like the longest thing ever.