It was the Kansas City Chiefs’ last hope to win the game. Head coach Andy Reid can at least say he tried.
During the Cincinnati Bengals’ AFC Championship game-winning drive in overtime, running back Joe Mixon took a zone run to the left up field for 13 yards. Upon getting tackled, Mixon did one of his usual celebration by dropping the ball and pounding his chest.
It set up Evan McPherson’s game-winning field goal just a couple plays later, but Reid thought there was something to Mixon giving the ball up.
Reid called timeout to see if the officials can review if Mixon was actually touched before going to the ground.
This completely objective Twitter account seems to think Reid had a case:
Joe Mixon fumbled in overtime and the Chiefs recovered. Mixon didn’t give himself up, he stumbled, stood up and dropped the ball. That’s a fumble. NFL Refs missed this one pic.twitter.com/kxtzEorVqi— Najee Harris Fan Account (@ClaypoolSZN11) January 30, 2022
If Mixon went down by himself without being contacted by a defender beforehand, then the ball would’ve live when Mixon dropped it. A Chiefs’ defender was seen picking the ball up immediately, but the whistle on the field was already blown, killing the play dead.
Reid’s plea was clearly not dismissed immediately, as officials were talking with him for about a minute. The CBS broadcast crew believed he was trying to get a flag thrown for illegal formation on the Bengals, but that infraction is not reviewable after the play. A fumble would be reviewable, but all reviews go through the booth in overtime, which is why Reid called the timeout.
Upon review, it’s close as to whether or not Mixon was actually touched by the defense before going down at the 12-yard line. Safety Juan Thornhill appeared to have barely swiped Mixon right before the Bengals’ back tripped over his own feet. Other than Thornhill, no Chief came close to touching him.
There’s also the case of Mixon giving himself up, which is a little weaker in terms of an argument since it looked like he tripped.
It was close, but considering the refs called the play dead and the evidence wasn’t too conclusive, Reid’s efforts were ultimately fruitless.