Caught up in the spell of Patrick Mahomes’ wizardry , the always enthusiastic Sunday Night Football Crew ended up witnessing an old-fashioned whooping by the Colts instead of more magic by the league’s reigning MVP.
Before the biggest stunner in a slate of games that included one Gruden brother getting fired up and the other one getting fired, Chris Collinsworth said he and Al Michaels were “really just fans,” and they couldn’t wait to see the hocus pocus like everyone else at Arrowhead Stadium.
“It’s exciting to be here, it really is,” Collinsworth said before kickoff. “There is a fever in this town. They know how close they were a season ago, and they think they’re going to take that next step.”
What they Chiefs took was a step back with their 19-13 loss .
Collinsworth did get his wish when Mahomes avoided a 15-yard sack on third-and-18, darted down the right sideline and fired a 27-yard frozen rope to Byron Pringle for the touchdown to put KC ahead 10-7 early in the second quarter.
“Stop it! Stop it!” Collinsworth whooped. “You can’t do this! You can’t make these plays! You can’t make this throw! We haven’t seen this. I mean, we’ve seen Brett Favre, we’ve seen Aaron Rodgers, we’ve seen John Elway. I, I, I just don’t remember anybody doing what this young man is doing so far in this league.”
Collinsworth and Michaels had good reason to believe more Mahomes magic was on the way, too.
Kansas City had scored at least 25 points in 25 consecutive regular season games, and Indy’s secondary was banged up. They predicted tight end Travis Kelce would have a field day finding the holes in the Colts’ zone coverage scheme.
What they saw instead was defensive dominance by the Colts, who sacked Mahomes four times and constantly crashed the pocket, leaving Mahomes limping and the Chiefs’ high-powered offense wheezing – Kelce had just one catch after the first quarter.
“I think the lesson learned for me here tonight is that part of the Mahomes magic, a major part of it, is his ability to move,” Collinsworth said as the Colts finished off an old-school thrashing that featured 45 runs and 29 passes.
“I didn’t know this kind of football still existed in the NFL,” Collinsworth said.
Other decisions that stood out during Week 5:
Pittsburgh QB Mason Rudolph was knocked out when he was hit in the chin by Ravens safety Earl Thomas and slammed his head as he crumpled unconscious to the ground. But he couldn’t get carted off because the Steelers’ medical cart was inoperable and had to be pushed off the field by a half dozen workers.
Instead, Rudolph, whose face mask was removed in case he needed oxygen, was helped to his feet and led off the field, dazed and wobbling.
“Embarrassing ,” tweeted NFLPA official George Atallah. “I guess $15 billion a year can’t buy you a working medical cart.”
The NFL said the Steelers’ medical team determined their knocked-out QB was OK to walk off the field, doing so by the team’s choice, not by necessity.
“A cart was brought on the field in the event it was needed. After evaluating the player, medical staff determined a cart was not necessary in this instance,” the NFL said in a statement, per the NFL Network’s Ian Rappaport. “Had one been needed, there was a backup cart on the other sideline which was immediately available. He received appropriate medical care per game day protocols, and is now in the concussion protocol.”
Referee Ronald Torbert’s crew had plenty of curious calls and non-calls in the Packers-Cowboys game marred by 20 flags for more than 200 yards in penalties.
Dallas coach Jason Garrett was whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct late in the third quarter with his team trailing 31-17. Garrett was forced to challenge a 27-yard catch by Amari Cooper that was ruled incomplete. He drew the ire of side judge Scott Edwards by angrily throwing his red challenge flag at his feet.
The call was reversed on replay and the catch was good, but Garrett was flagged 15 yards for what Torbert said was abusive language toward Edwards.
That prompted Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to say, “I hope the little darling didn’t hear anything he hasn’t heard before.”
BEARS BLOW IT
Chicago had a 21-17 late lead over the Raiders in London when Kevin Pierre-Louis was called for running into the punter on fourth-and-6 from the Oakland 22. The Raiders called a fake punt on the next play and Erik Harris gained 3 yards even though the Bears were ready for it.
They ended up going 97 yards for the winning touchdown.
“Why are you rushing the kick and why are you trying to block it?” NBC analyst Tony Dungy asked. “That’s a dumb play.”
Raiders coach Jon Gruden danced in the locker room after the game.
About the time he and the Raiders were returning from London, his brother, Jay Gruden, was on his way out in Washington , summoned to the Redskins facility before dawn Monday to learn of his firing following an 0-5 start that left him with a 35-49-1 record.
Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton
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