Days after the Chiefs’ 22-21 loss to the Titans in an AFC Wild Card Game on Saturday, fans were still wondering why Andy Reid didn’t throw a challenge flag after Marcus Mariota’s touchdown pass to himself.
On a third-and-goal play for the Titans, Mariota scrambled and threw a pass that was tipped by the Chiefs cornerback Darrelle Revis. The ball came back to Mariota, who grabbed it and scored a touchdown.
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.”
Mariota’s foot was on the line when the released the ball.
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NFL Films broke down the play, and there were a few interesting things to note.
First, Reid had a hand on his challenge flag, but an assistant official told Reid that the touchdown would be reviewed (as they all are) and that included a look at where Mariota was when he released the ball.
Had Mariota been beyond the line of scrimmage, the touchdown would not have counted.
A second point to note is the great play by cornerback Marcus Peters. He worked Titans receiver Eric Decker out of bounds, making Decker an ineligible receiver. Knowing this, Peters went to help his teammates and appeared to have a chance to intercept the pass had Revis not touched the ball.
Instead Mariota scored one of the strangest touchdowns in playoff history.
“I can’t believe what I just saw,” a Titans announcer said.
No one could.
Here is the NFL Films breakdown: