KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs’ and New York Jets’ bout on Sunday Night Football was a lot closer than people expected.
And with over four minutes left and three timeouts, the Jets had the Chiefs offense at 3rd & 20 at the Jets 40-yard line.
That’s when quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw what would’ve been an interception to Jets defensive back Michael Carter II and given them the ball — with Zach Wilson arguably playing the best game of his career.
But the play was called back when referees called a holding penalty on Jets DB Sauce Gardner while he was guarding Chiefs receiver Marques Valdes-Scantling, giving the Chiefs a first down.
The Chiefs then proceeded to run the clock out, never allowing the Jets the chance to tie or win the game.
Jets head coach Robert Saleh and Gardner were furious after the call. Saleh was even flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct a few plays later.
Gardner later tweeted out: “Lmaoo maybe if I was a swiftie, the ref wouldn’t of threw the flag.”
The Chiefs — already one of the league’s most popular teams — have garnered even more attention due to Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift pairing up, and NBC showed her on camera numerous times as she attended the game.
Gardner quickly edited the tweet to “Lmaoo maybe if I was a swiftie then… [nevermind],” and then later deleted it.
Saleh and Gardner both continued to express those frustrations in their postgame pressers.
“I’m not going to comment on that,” Saleh said when asked about the call after the game.
The Jets’ frustrations are understandable, considering they weren’t able to capitalize on a solid performance from Wilson.
But it did appear that Gardner briefly held Valdes-Scantling during his route. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid explained why he thought it was the correct call.
“Listen, I thought it was a hold,” Reid said. “I’ve got to go back and look at the tape on it. He was on the other side of the field. They’re aggressive, so they’re going to get a couple of those during the game.
“Sauce is as good as there is in the league, but he might’ve had a little bit of fabric there.”
Ultimately, Wilson took the blame for the loss, particularly because he lost a fumbled snap on New York’s final drive that Tershawn Wharton recovered to give Kansas City the ball for the last possession.
“To be driving right there, to drop a snap, I can not do that,” Wilson said. “You know, I lost us this game and I can not do that.”
The win puts the Chiefs at 3-1 on the season and puts the Jets at 1-3. The Chiefs will head to Minnesota to play the Vikings at 3:25 p.m. Sunday.