For Pete's Sake

Here is why Marcus Mariota’s TD pass to himself vs. Chiefs was legal

Fans at Arrowhead go crazy cheering on their Chiefs in playoff game

Chiefs fans expressed their enthusiasm for their team Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium during the wild card playoff game with the Tennessee Titans.
Up Next
Chiefs fans expressed their enthusiasm for their team Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium during the wild card playoff game with the Tennessee Titans.

Yeah, that was a chill that went up the spine of Chiefs fans.

In the third quarter of Saturday’s AFC Wild Card Game, the Titans caught a break when quarterback Marcus Mariota threw a touchdown pass to ... Marcus Mariota.

On a third-and-goal play for the Titans, Mariota rolled out and threw a pass that was tipped by the Chiefs’ Darrelle Revis. The ball came back to Mariota, who grabbed it and scored a touchdown.

Crazy.

The referee’s call: “Quarterback was behind the line, and he was in shotgun, therefore he is an eligible receiver.”

Chiefs fans have seen that kind of fluky play before: Colts quarterback Andrew Luck recovered his own fumble and scored a touchdown in a playoff game in 2014.

But should Mariota’s pass have counted? Some wondered if he was over the line of scrimmage, but the NFL rule states: “It is a forward pass from beyond the line of scrimmage if the passer’s entire body and the ball are beyond the line of scrimmage when the ball is released, whether the passer is airborne or touching the ground.”

It appeared that Mariota’s back foot was behind the line when he threw it.

And it didn’t matter if Mariota was in the shotgun. When the ball was tipped by Revis, Mariota was allowed to grab it.

Here is the play:

ESPN said it was the first time in playoff history that an quarterback had caught his own TD pass. It happened once before in an NFL game. Brad Johnson did it in 1997.

Chiefs corner Marcus Peters bowls away the football after making an interception in the second quarter against the Tennessee Titans during their playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium.

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

  Comments