The Kansas City Chiefs were furious with a late penalty that saw them lose to the Buffalo Bills, while the San Francisco 49ers rolled on with a fifth win in a row in week 14 of the NFL.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was incensed as the Super Bowl champions saw a late touchdown ruled out by the referees to slip to a fourth defeat in six.
The Philadelphia Eagles are also struggling after falling to consecutive defeats when being well beaten by the Dallas Cowboys, while the Baltimore Ravens grabbed a dramatic walk-off victory over the Los Angeles Rams in overtime.
There were more exciting finishes as teams start to line up for play-off places, but not so much in Las Vegas as just a single field goal inside the final two minutes saw the Minnesota Vikings beat the Raiders in the lowest scoring game for 16 years.
Late penalty ‘tough to swallow’ as Chiefs lose again
Travis Kelce’s moment of magic looked to have won the game for the Chiefs after he caught a Mahomes pass then offloaded it to Kadarius Toney to score with just a minute left, but a penalty flag saw the touchdown ruled out.
Toney himself was penalised for standing offside before the ball was snapped, and that left Arrowhead Stadium flat as the Bills held on for an intense, hard-fought 20-17 victory, inspired again by Josh Allen, that keeps their play-off hopes alive.
Offensive offside is still a rare call by officials even if there have been 11 penalties for it this season compared with just three over the previous two years, and it left a usually calm Mahomes incensed on the sideline and in his post-match interviews.
“Loss for words, man, it’s tough to swallow,” said Mahomes. “I’ve played seven years and never had offensive offside called. Another game, we’re talking about the refs. It’s not what we want for the NFL. It’s not what we want for football.”
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid added: “It’s a bit embarrassing in the National Football League for that to take place. I’ve been in the league for a long time, haven’t had one like that.”
It was Toney’s mistake though and added to yet more drops from Chiefs receivers as Kansas City lost consecutive games for the first time in two years to slip to 8-5. The AFC top seed is slipping away from the Chiefs, making it more likely Mahomes will face a play-off game on the road for the first time in his career.