Frank Clark’s awful roughing the passer call vs. Bills’ Josh Allen kills Chiefs’ comeback hopes



The Chiefs were hoping for some last-gasp Patrick Mahomes magic to turn the tide late in their shocking 38-20 home loss to the Bills on Sunday night. One bad roughing the passer call in favor of counterpart Josh Allen confirmed there would be none of that.

Kansas City’s defensive players thought they could celebrate a takeaway that put their team back in business, with Mahomes and the offense getting back on the field at the Kansas City 41. Instead, defensive end Frank Clark was called for a personal foul for doing his job: trying to sack the QB coming off the edge.

With 11:50 left in the fourth quarter and the Chiefs just having scored a touchdown to make it 31-20, the Bills were backed up with a third-and-17 at their own 8. Allen made his worst throw of a spectacular passing and rushing night, a misfire to go-to wide receiver Stefon Diggs that was intercepted by cornerback Rashad Fenton.

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The penalty on Clark negated the turnover and gave the Bills the ball at their 23. About six minutes and 10 plays later, Allen threw the game-clinching TD pass to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, leaving Mahomes only meaningless garbage time.

Clark didn’t go too high toward Allen’s head or two low around his knees. The 6-3, 260-pound rusher was trying to bring down the 6-5, 237-pound QB with the equivalent of a bear hug. Clark got to Allen a heartbeat after he got rid of the ball. The only possible explanation is that Clark drove Allen to the turf a little too hard in the driving rain, which seems doubtful at best.

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A bang-bang judgment call of that nature shouldn’t be made given how much was at stake in the game. Then again, referee Carl Cheffers’ crew was flag-happy from start to finish Sunday night. The Bills ended up with 10 accepted penalties against them for 103 yards. The Chiefs’ final tally was seven for 55 yards, including the 15 that were gifted Allen with the call on Clark.

Kansas City’s defense was playing a lot better in the second half, too. Until that drive, it had not allowed a point in the half after spotting the Bills 24 in the first half. The Chiefs dug themselves a bigger hole when Mahomes threw the first of his two interceptions, a pick-six by Bills safety Micah Hyde. Fenton, behind some good pressure, thought he had made a Hyde-like momentum-changing play for the Chiefs, but it was not be. His INT will never count. Clark’s penalty will stand forever.

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Would the Bills still have won the game with a smaller double-digit lead? Perhaps. But it was a shame one play robbed viewers a chance of some final-act drama involving Mahomes vs. Allen, even on a bad night for the former and a dominant night for the latter.


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