Recalling the absolute insanity of the Chiefs' final drive against Packers

Let's look at how the referees screwed up everything on the Chiefs-Packers final drive.
Kansas City Chiefs v Las Vegas Raiders
Kansas City Chiefs v Las Vegas Raiders / Candice Ward/GettyImages

Some of us have tougher jobs than others, and few are so exposed to public scrutiny as that of an NFL official. It's impossible to please all of the fans (and the coaches and the players and the staff) these days, but some referees are better than others. Certainly, it seems that anyone would have been better than whoever was in charge of making the calls late in the game on Sunday Night Football between the Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers.

The ratings trackers are going to have a field day with the final results from Sunday Night Football given how inciting the final seconds were. However, for those teams involved, it was also a confusing final drive filled with the insanity of calls that were missed, calls that were made, and plays that nearly happened. Oh, there's that punch as well.

If that all sounds crazy, it was. And if you somehow missed it, here are the talking points (and some replays) so you can at least knowingly nod around the water cooler this morning.

The iffy roughing call

The Chiefs came into the final drive needing to score a touchdown to earn their second road win in a row and they had a long way to go when they came out for 1st-and-10 from their own 30-yard line with only 1:09 to start the final drive. After an early incomplete pass, Mahomes took off on second down to scramble for 10 yards but ended up earning a 15-yard personal foul penalty on Jonathan Owens on this hit.

Look no one wants to see Mahomes get hurt, but even the most one-sided fan would have to admit that if a player wants to toy with staying in-bounds, then he's going to have to make himself available to be hit or tackled. That the Chiefs earned additional yardage here was a gift.

The defensive TD (that wasn't)

On the very next play, Mahomes found Rashee Rice on a quick pass for 10 yards. As Rice was getting tackled by Quay Walker, he was rolled over and the ball came loose. From there, the Packers picked it up and ran it in for the score—a forced fumble, subsequent recovery, and return for a touchdown. Only then it wasn't.

The call was pretty clear on replay that the refs got it wrong on the field of play and then the call was overturned by review. Yep, that's just two plays in a row and these officials were just getting started.

The Pacheco punch

To elevate the level of drama in the last seconds of the game, Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco seemed to take exception to the way Keisean Nixon was trying to stay on top of him in the last seconds of the game. Instead of keeping his head and closing things out with his teammates, he lost control and threw a punch at the Packers defensive back.

At this point, all I can think is "Sure! Might as well."

A gift for MVS

Three plays later, the Chiefs are trying to move the chains once again with precious little time left when Marquez Valdes-Scantling gets involved (hold for applause). On this play, he catches a short pass for Mahomes that goes for 9 yards and MVS does his best to get out of bounds. However, it was forward progress and that should have kept the clock rolling but it didn't. Because the refs called him out. On a gift of a play. Yeah.

The MVS non-call

Then came the crazy non-call that topped everything else that happened. Mahomes geared up to throw it deep to a guy who would have loved nothing more than a major downfield catch against his former team, but Carrington Valentine of the Packers apparently has some blackmail material on the refs or something in this game. Check out the play.

Yeah, that's Valentine trying to climb him like MVS said he was ready to play chicken in the swimming pool and Valentine was his partner on top or something. Insane. Valentine went up to dunk MVS in an imaginary pool and the pass fell incomplete and the flags remained wherever flags were stored to the shock of everyone watching the broadcast—including the broadcasters.

Instead of having a first-and-goal to go thanks to a 40-yard or so defensive pass interference penalty, the box score will simply call that an incomplete pass and a "Yeah, let's move on. Thank you very much." This is called a make-up call and it was a hefty one for the home crowd.

The last gasp

As if all of this wasn't insane enough, we have to end things with the actual last gasp. After all, a Hail Mary play is always must-watch for any offense on any level, but when Patrick Mahomes is giving the Chiefs a shot at the end zone from midfield at the last second, you know you have to take it in.

Of course, things didn't work out as hoped, but honestly, it also feels like the Chiefs didn't deserve that win. Still, some of us are still likely sitting and staring at our television screens wondering how exactly all of this went down the way it did. It was a thrilling and yet confusing series that only gets weirder when you try to rehash it—one insane play after another.