Inconsistent NFL officiating was once again a major talking point following the Green Bay Packers’ 27-19 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night.
Two decisions on the final drive for the Chiefs – who were attempting to score a game-winning touchdown with just over a minute remaining – caused particular controversy.
First, officials called an unnecessary roughness penalty on Green Bay for a hit on Patrick Mahomes despite the quarterback seemingly being in bounds at the time and establishing himself as a runner.
“The covering official believed that the defender made late and unnecessary contact on the quarterback,” said referee Brad Allen, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. “So that was the call for unnecessary roughness.”
When pressed on the decision, Allen said that “the covering official was certain that the call had been made correctly” after internal discussions.
Several plays later, Packers cornerback Carrington Valentine appeared to interfere with Chiefs receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling on a downfield pass that would’ve set Kansas City up inside Green Bay’s 10-yard line.
“On every play where there may or may not be pass interference, either offensive or defensive, the covering official has to rule whether contact materially restricts the receiver,” said Allen.
“And in this case, the covering officials were in good position and ruled that there was no material restriction that rose to the level of defensive pass interference.”
NBC rules analyst Terry McAulay disagreed with Allen, arguing Valentine coming over the back of Valdes-Scantling was a clear defensive pass interference penalty.
On the Chiefs’ unsuccessful Hail Mary play at the end of the drive, there appeared to be another possible DPI penalty after Travis Kelce was shoved in the back, pushing him away from attempting to catch the pass from Mahomes. Allen wasn’t asked about this play.
Kansas City dropped to 8-4 with the loss and now occupies the AFC’s No. 4 seed, while Green Bay improved to 6-6 and moved into the NFC’s No. 7 seed.