By Zack Kelberman
(247 SPORTS) – What is it with the Denver Broncos and incompetent officiating?
For the third time in as many weeks, the Broncos were negatively impacted by the referees. For the second week in a row, it arguably cost them a chance at victory. And for the first time, it was on a national stage for all to see.
In the midst of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ fourth-quarter comeback — just over two minutes remaining, Denver leading 23-20, on third-and-7 at the Broncos’ 46-yard line — Mahomes hit tight end Demetrius Harris for a 35-yard gain down the right sideline.
The snap never should have taken place. It should have been third-and-12 at the Chiefs’ 49. Delay of game, in the truest sense.
But it did, setting up first-and-goal for Kansas City, who’d score a few plays later — the go-ahead dagger in a 27-23 victory on Monday Night Football that left the Mile High crowd equal parts stunned and furious.
Predictably, the Broncos were peppered with questions about the controversial (and non-challengeable) no-call. Predictably, they strongly spoke out against an outcome which dropped the club to 2-2 on the season.
“That was crazy, man,” cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said, via ESPN.com. “It was zero seconds on the clock, forever. … [You] can’t review it, I asked everything. If a ref messed up on a call, you should be able to fix it. Dude, look how long the clock was on zero. That’s not why we lost the game — but that was a huge, huge, no-call.”
Not so predictably, linebacker Brandon Marshall admitted, Craig Wrolstad’s crew took ownership of the lapse in judgement, albeit with an excuse nearly worse than the offense itself.
“It definitely was at zero, the replay showed that,” Marshall said. “The ref told us that the ref that was supposed to be watching it just missed it. … He told us that, the ref told us the guy that was supposed to be watching the clock just missed it.
“So maybe he got caught up in watching the game because it was a good game, but you’ve got to do your job. Come on, that was huge. That was big.”
You’d think the ref whose literal job is to watch would actually, you know, watch. Anyone bearing a functioning brain stem saw the playclock expire well before the ball was snapped. It wasn’t merely a fractional difference — two whole Mississippi’s passed. The players saw it, the fans saw it, you saw it, I saw it.
Everyone but those who, unfortunately, wield enough power to alter the result of an otherwise terrific divisional affair.
Broncos coach head coach Vance Joseph, who some accuse of being too passive, claimed he inquired about the evident penalty.
“I did, and he said he looked up, it was ‘0’ and the ball was gone. I disagree. I disagree,” Joseph said.
PHOTO GALLERY: Chiefs 27, Broncos 23
It’s normally a cop-out to point fingers at the men in stripes, particularly after squandering a two-possession advantage, at home, in the final quarter. The Broncos, though, have a legitimate beef to take to 345 Park Avenue, because this was a clear dereliction of duty.
What else is new?
“They need to send that to New York and start getting that reviewed since they want to review everything,” outside linebacker Shane Ray said. “Make a rule about that.”