Ref made the right call on Patrick Mahomes grounding penalty

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In the final seconds of the first half today, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes drew an unusual penalty: Intentional grounding, for spiking the ball when the clock wasn’t running. But while it was unusual, it was correct.

Mahomes, perhaps not realizing that the clock was stopped, got the Chiefs to the line of scrimmage, took the snap and spiked it. The referee immediately threw a flag and explained that it’s intentional grounding to spike the ball when the clock is already stopped.

That was confusing in part because the NFL’s own rule book defines intentional grounding as throwing the ball away when “facing an imminent loss of yardage because of pressure from the defense.” Mahomes wasn’t facing an imminent loss of yardage and wasn’t under pressure from the defense, so how could it be intentional grounding?

Because there’s a separate section of the rules that covers spikes, and that section says, “A QB can only spike the ball to stop a running game clock.”

So while it’s easy to see why there was confusion, the officials did get it right.

This issue has actually come up before, two years ago, when the Bills spiked the ball just before halftime of a Monday night game against the Seahawks, even though the clock wasn’t running. In that case, the officials did not flag the Bills for intentional grounding. That was an officiating error. This time, the officials got it right.

25 responses to “Ref made the right call on Patrick Mahomes grounding penalty

  1. But they didn’t make the right call on the play that took Bake out of the game. It’s called helmet to helmet even on a Cleveland Browns helmet

  2. The 3 announcers could not figure out what was happening. It was bad enough that Mahones spiked the ball to stop a clock that was already stopped. Greg gumbel and Bruce Arians could not understand what happened and kept coming up with stupid ideas why the penalty was called. It was obvious right away. You can’t spike a pass to stop a clock that was already stopped before the ball is snapped.

  3. vaphinfan says:
    November 4, 2018 at 5:00 pm
    If this happened to Brady…..no flag.

    —————-

    And you would cry either way

  4. vaphinfan says:
    November 4, 2018 at 5:00 pm
    If this happened to Brady…..no flag.

    *********************************************

    That’s correct, because we all know Brady rules over the NFL, especially weak little doormat franchises like the pee-wee league team in South Florida.

  5. The Truth says:
    November 4, 2018 at 6:29 pm
    To the dismay of patsies fans everywhere mahommes and brees have vaulted past Tammy

    —————-

    SB Wins

    Brady: 5
    Brees: 1
    Mahommes: 0

    I think not…..in fact it’s not even close

  6. Ok, so spiking the ball with the clock stopped is intentional grounding. Someone explain how Mahomes was supposed to know that the clock hadn’t started. Refs were in position and ready for play. Was one of them supposed to signal the clock to start? Was the clock supposed to start on the snap of the ball? Not crying foul here, just trying to understand what happened.

  7. @blogatron2000

    It’s Mahomes’ job to know what the clock is going to do in any situation, and if he doesn’t know it’s the coaches’ job to tell him. That’s all part of effective clock management, no excuse for not knowing.

  8. The rule has to do with what the status of the clock before the snap. If the clock is not running before the snap, then it is intentional grounding. So if the clock is stopped before the snap, then it is illegal to spike the ball.

  9. No it was not the right call, they set the ball, signal to begin play and he hiked the ball and spiked it, its not his fault the clock operator didn’t start the clock. And what about Deford getting screwed on his strip sack?

  10. It was a bad call, it a littany of bad calls and missed calls. That game was horribly officiated. The entire crew should be fired.

  11. luvkcchiefs says:
    November 4, 2018 at 5:08 pm
    Once the ball is hiked the clock starts so how could it not be running?
    ————-
    The rule is you cannot spike the ball when the clock is stopped PRE-SNAP. Not sure why they have this rule but they called it correctly.

  12. mongolchuck says:
    November 4, 2018 at 11:09 pm
    So if the clock was stopped why was there to be a 10 second runoff?
    —————
    Because of intentional grounding. Then the Chiefs had to use a time-out to stop it.

  13. jjackwagon says:
    November 5, 2018 at 9:03 am
    It was a bad call, it a littany of bad calls and missed calls. That game was horribly officiated. The entire crew should be fired.
    ———————–
    Weird call, not bad!

  14. This isn’t all that complicated. The prior play the Browns were off sides thereby stopping the clock. Even though the penalty was refused because the Chiefs picked up a lot of yards on the play, the clock remains stopped due to the penalty. The rules only allow spiking to stop a running clock. Since the clock was already stopped, once the ball was hiked it was a normal play. When he spiked it at his feet there was no eligible receiver in the area, nor did the ball make it to the line of scrimmage, so by rule it’s intentional grounding. It actually was the correct call. However, in typical NFL officiating screw ups they then erroneously called for a 10 second run off. This occurred even though the Chiefs still had a time out. Fortunately they caught themselves and took away the time out instead of having to explain once again the refs screwed up..

  15. No the refs were not right. When the ball was snapped the clock ran down from 9 seconds to 8 seconds. Therefore, the clock was running so the second part of the rule does not come into effect. The refs made it seem like the clock would start on their ready for play. That was an officiating mistake that costs the Chiefs. The RB was technically in the area as was Kelce, even though they are both a stretch. Going forward either the refs need to make it clear that the clock won’t stop until the snap or not throw a useless flag. They are so flag happy that sometimes they just need to hold off. And no, I wouldn’t even want a flag thrown on any Chiefs opponent for such a dumb play.

  16. @shyts7

    No they were right. What don’t you understand about the offsides penalty causing the clock to stop? The fact the clock started when the ball was snapped just affirms the intentional grounding call. Where was the eligible receiver he thru it at? It landed behind the centers feet…it didn’t make it to the line. Text book intentional grounding. The fact Mahommes (and apparently you) don’t know the rules doesn’t make it the wrong call.

  17. Greg gumbel and Bruce Arians could not understand what happened and kept coming up with stupid ideas why the penalty was called.
    ______________________________

    Bruce Arians seemed lost the entire game. That guy was Audio Ambien. Holy crap.

  18. @chief0727

    It’s the wrong call because it is never called. You can say a receiver wasn’t in the area sure, but, you can’t say the clock was stopped because everyone saw the clock go from 9 seconds to 8 seconds so obviously you can’t have a pre-snap penalty if the clock was running.

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