Officials miss possible taunting call on Tyreek Hill during Chiefs’ go-ahead touchdown vs. Bills

Referees handed down what could have been a mocking call on Tyreek Hill during his go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter of the AFC divisional-round game between the Chiefs and Bills on Sunday.

During Hill’s 64-yard touchdown reception, which put Kansas City up 33-29 with 1:04 remaining in regulation, he flashed his trademark peace sign to Bills linebacker Matt Milano, who was not fast enough to keep the speedy receiver off the field. end zone.

While the play was certainly exciting, the referees could have penalized Hill. Based on the NFL’s application of the controversial rule, taunting is defined as “the use of baiting or taunting acts or words that engender ill will between teams.” If they had enforced the rule, it would have been a 15-yard penalty from the spot of the foul, at roughly the 16-yard line. That would have given the Chiefs first-and-10 from the Bills’ 31-yard line, still trailing 29-26. .

Interestingly, the Chiefs may have benefited from such a decision, as it may have reduced Josh Allen’s time to engineer a last-minute go-ahead touchdown drive if Kansas City was able to take the lead after a penalty. Allen (27-of-39 passing, 329 yards, four touchdowns) found Gabriel Davis for the game’s fourth-pair touchdown drive with just 13 seconds remaining in regulation.

Patrick Mahomes completed passes of 19 and 25 yards to Hill and tight end Travis Kelce to reach the Bills 31-yard line. Harrison Butker kicked the 49-yard field goal from there, sending the game into overtime with the game tied at 36.

Kansas City won the toss in overtime, marching methodically downfield and ending the game with an 8-yard touchdown drive between Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce. It was the fifth touchdown after the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter.

Ironically, Hill himself was teased with the peace sign during the Chiefs’ 31-9 loss to the Buccaneers in Super Bowl 55, a play pointed out by many opponents of the rule when the NFL mandated that it be enforced stricter way: then-rookie Antoine Winfield Jr. confronted Hill and flashed the peace sign, prompting a 15-yard penalty and incurring a $7,815 fine.

The NFL’s taunting rule has been heavily criticized this season. One of his biggest criticisms has been the lack of consistency of what warrants a call and when. Officials at Sunday’s game demonstrated, once again, one of the rule’s biggest flaws.