In the fourth quarter of the Kansas City Chiefs‘ win over the Tennessee Titans, a very questionable unnecessary roughness call was made against Moise Fokou for hitting Alex Smith out of bounds. It came on a critical third-and-five, and kept the Chiefs go-ahead touchdown drive alive.
The Titans have a legitimate beef with the call. Smith had clearly made the move to ball-carrier, and by NFL rules was no longer under the protection of the quarterback position. The call was a tough one to make as Smith’s foot was hovering above the white line before he was being hit.
If it were up to me, I wouldn’t have thrown the flag. On a crucial third down, Fokou had to make sure Smith didn’t make a dive for the first down marker, and could not be blamed for going after him at full force. Fokou was clearly trying to make an important play, and had no intent of hurting Smith.
That being said, the disputable call was owed to the Chiefs. Tennessee fans have a justifiable dispute against that play, but its impact was equal to another blown call earlier in the game. On the Titans’ go-ahead touchdown drive earlier in the second half, the officials gave them a gift just as big as the one Kansas City received.
On a third-and-eight late in the third quarter, Eric Berry was called for a phantom defensive pass interference penalty, which ultimately led to Tennessee taking their first lead of the game. This bad call was a no-brainer, but received much less attention likely because it didn’t happen as late in the game. The Tennessee faithful have a reasonable complaint against the late-hit call, but anyone complaining they were robbed of a win don’t have a leg to stand on.