Patrick Mahomes was ‘controlled quite a bit,’ ref says, on a controversial first-half play that supported Kansas City Chiefs

Referee Tony Corrente said Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was “being controlled quite a bit” as the explanation that a key play in Monday’s game against the New England Patriots was administered a sack and not a bumble.

The Chiefs proceeded to win 26-10, yet the play occurred at a crossroads in the second quarter when the game was still in question. Kansas City led 6-3 at that point.

The decision permitted the Chiefs to punt from their own 35 with under six minutes left in the half, as opposed to having the Patriots take possession somewhere down in Kansas City’s finish of the field. Replays demonstrated that Mahomes lost the ball before going to the ground.

“As he was being controlled, other players were coming in at him,” Corrente said of Mahomes. “And so, with those other players bearing down on him, a quarterback is considered in the grasp, and his forward progress is considered stopped when I feel as though the player’s safety is being jeopardized.

“And that was the case in this instance. So rather than allow him to get hit by a second and third player, we shut it down and considered it forward progress at that point.”

New England couldn’t challenge the decision that Mahomes’ forward advancement was halted.

“He called forward progress, and he was down,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “You can’t challenge that.”

Mahomes said he heard an early whistle during the play, which persuaded that the play would be governed a sack and not a mishandle.

Mahomes and the Chiefs weren’t sharp obnoxiously until some other time in the game. The quarterback said the delay of the game from Sunday to Monday after each group had a positive COVID-19 test may have had an impact. The Chiefs, similar to the Patriots, were banned from their office on Saturday.

“You can still find ways to watch film and find ways [to] do stuff like that, but it’s obviously something that we are unprepared for,” Mahomes said. “I didn’t do enough because we didn’t execute at a high enough level, wasn’t able to find the guys, didn’t play very good football. But I thought I did whatever I could to stay in tune with the game.

“Hopefully if this presents itself again — which hopefully it doesn’t — I’ll be able to do better.”