Bengals fans, social media troll NFL ref after controversial calls in AFC Championship

Kansas City Chiefs place kicker Harrison Butker (7) celebrates with teammates after his...
Kansas City Chiefs place kicker Harrison Butker (7) celebrates with teammates after his game-winning field goal against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second half of the NFL AFC Championship playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. The Chiefs won 23-20. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)(Charlie Riedel | AP)
Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 12:17 PM EST
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Cincinnati Bengals fans and NFL critics take to social media claiming controversial calls were made during the AFC Championship game Sunday night by one of the referees.

Memes, angry tweets and game highlights continue to circulate on the Internet of NFL Referee Ron Torbert after a “do-over” call was made within the fourth quarter of the Bengals-Kansas City Chiefs game.

With 10:29 left in the final quarter, the Chiefs were able to redo a failed third-down play after a clock error.

According to ESPN Staff Writer Kevin Seifert, Torbert and the refs were trying to stop the play after noticing that the game clock was running.

Seifert says the clock should not have been running because the Chiefs had thrown an incomplete pass prior to the third down.

“The attempt to stop the play wasn’t seen or heard on the broadcast, nor did players and coaches appear to notice it. But once any official rules a play dead, it’s dead,” the ESPN writer said.

After being given a second shot, the Chiefs received a first down after the Bengals’ defense was given a penalty for holding.

“This was absolutely confusing in real time but makes sense in retrospect,” Seifert wrote. “Real-time communication is key in these situations, and Torbert’s audio was not clear at the time.”

The Chiefs would not score on that drive and punted the ball back to the Bengals.

Another call some viewers considered questionable was the result of Chiefs’ coach Andy Reid’s final challenge.

During the third quarter with 6:07 left, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw a ball to receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling on third-and-seven from the Bengals’ 26-yard line

The Bengals’ defense stopped Valdes-Scantling at the 20-yard line where the Chiefs’ receiver stuck the ball out to make the play a first down.

Originally, Torbert spotted the ball 1 yard short of a first down, and Reid challenged the call.

After reviewing the play, Torbert announced that Valdes-Scantling did indeed reach the line to gain, giving the Chiefs a first down.

“This was an unusual play because Valdes-Scantling extended the ball, then brought it back in before the whistle, presumably to avoid a turnover,” Seifert wrote in his analysis. “CBS didn’t show many replays on the broadcast, but the NFL’s command center in New York City has instant access to all of them.”

In addition, ESPN says in general, ball carriers are given the “furthest reach point on a spot” as long as a defender is pushing or holding them back.

“That was the case here,” Seifert explained. “Valdes-Scantling’s reach was considered his furthest point of forward progress, and the command center determined that it was enough for a first down.”

While Bengals fans express their frustration with the referees and the calls made, Kansas City fans and other viewers say the Chiefs won because they just played better.

The Chiefs will be playing in the 2023 Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles in Glendale, Arizona on Feb. 12 at 6:30 p.m.

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