The TD That Wasn’t A TD Kills Momentum

From Arrowhead Stadium

Down 14-0 early in the second quarter, the Chiefs offense was making noise that they were finally getting on track. With a 2nd-and-8 play at the Bills 19-yard line, QB Matt Cassel lofted a ball toward the right side of the end zone and TE Leonard Pope.

Working the sideline, Pope had the ball, juggled it, seemed to have it again, and tumbled out of the end zone.

Touchdown, at least that’s what the official on the field who was about five-feet away from Pope called.

What that official couldn’t see from his angle was that Pope never really secured the football while he was inbounds. A review by instant replay saw that and the call was overturned; it was just an incompletion.

It turned out to be a huge incompletion for the Chiefs. A touchdown at that time would have made the score 14-7 and the Chiefs would have been right back in the thick of things. If everything else remained equal, they would have ended the first half down 20-14 rather than 20-7. Based on their second half play, it maybe didn’t matter much, but the overturned score hurt momentum and confidence.

“It’s definitely a momentum changer,” said QB Matt Cassel. “We didn’t even walk away with points from that drive (Ryan Succop missed a 49-yard FG). At the end of the day when the score is so lopsided you’ve got a lot more issues than just one overturned call.”

Yeah, but it was big.

“We didn’t come back (from that),” said Todd Haley. “We had a chance to make some plays and we didn’t make them. That play wasn’t going to make a difference in that game, at least judging by the final results.”

Pope felt he controlled the ball long enough for the score, but realized when he saw the replay on the big screens at Arrowhead that it was probably going to get overturned.

“You’ve just go to move on,” Pope said. “When the officials make their ruling, there isn’t anything you can do about it but move on.”

Oh, but what might have been.

“It would have been nice with that touchdown,” Pope said. “But we still had a lot of game to play.”

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