Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters went from exultation to blind rage in the time it took for the yellow hanky to go from an official’s back pocket to the Arrowhead Stadium grass Sunday in the final minute of a shocking 18-17 loss against the Chicago Bears.
Peters, a rookie first-round pick from Washington who came to Kansas City with concerns about his temper, had locked up Marquess Wilson one-on-one along the Chiefs’ sideline during a critical third-and-10.
Quarterback Jay Cutler rifled a ball well wide of the mark and there was some contact down the field, but it may not have impactedthe outcome of the play.
Initially, Peters — who led the Chiefs with eight tackles (all solo stops), including one for a loss, and also was credited with a pass defense — was pumped.
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The Chiefs were one play from victory, or so he thought.
Two plays after Peters was flagged for the 24-yard penalty, Cutler delivered a Bears victory with a touchdown toss to running back Matt Forte.
Peters declined postgame interview requests through the Chiefs’ media relations staff, but coach Andy Reid stood up for him.
“I didn’t agree with (the call), but that’s hindsight,” Reid said. “It’s over. Can’t do anything about it. I thought, if anything, it was a push-off the other way.”
Peters went momentarily berserk upon seeing the penalty flag, barking in the officials’ face and making angry hand gestures as he protested the call in vain.
Veteran Chiefs players empathized with Peters’ emotions, but also said that not how to handle the situation.
“You can’t control that, so you just tell him to keep fighting,” said cornerback Sean Smith, a seven-year NFL veteran. “You don’t ever want to get into an argument with the referee. They’re going to call what they’re going to call, but you just have to go out there and continue to play tight coverage. You don’t want to soften up or anything like that.”
Peters also got beat on the Bears’ first touchdown. Safety Ron Parker also was in coverage on that touchdown to Wilson, which pulled the Bears within 17-12 after a failed two-point conversion with 3:05 remaining.
“It was a great throw,” Smith said. “The coverage was there, but (Cutler) just put the ball exactly where it needed to be. It was impressive. You tip your hat to him.”
Such is life as an NFL defensive back.
Sometimes, you play the coverage well and get beat by a perfect throw.
Sometimes, an otherwise sterling afternoon is marred by a questionable pass-interference call.
“It’s like that,” Smith said. “We’re a press-man team. When you play press-man, there’s going to be some holding calls, some illegal contacts, some pass interferences. If they are or they aren’t, you can’t control that. If the ref wants to throw it, he’s going to throw it. At the end of the day, you’ve got to just play hard and keep being yourself.”
Peters, who has the Chiefs’ only two interceptions this season, appeared to have his third on Cutler’s incompletion to Khari Lee late in the fourth quarter.
Refs ruled Peters out of bounds and the Chiefs didn’t challenge the call.
Cutler threw a touchdown on the next play, kicking off Chicago’s comeback.
There are bound to be better days for both Peters and the Chiefs.
“This hurt, bro,” Parker said. “We’ve just got to stay in tune every down and keep winning every position and every situation we’re in. We’ve got to do a good job finishing and find a way to win these games.”