Then they caught a big break that extended the final touchdown drive of their 26-7 win.
With the Chiefs leading, 19-7, Kansas City faced third-and-20 from the Miami 27-yard line. Patrick Mahomes faced pressure from the Miami pass rush and threw an incomplete pass. But Kansas City was awarded a first down after a flag was thrown in the backfield.
Officials flagged Christian Wilkins for a borderline roughing the passer penalty, setting the Chiefs up with first-and-10 at the Miami 14-yard line instead of fourth-and-20 at the 27.
Wilkins didn't hit Mahomes with excessive force. He didn't hit him high. He didn't hit him low. He simply shoved Mahomes to the turf after Mahomes released the ball.
Thoughts on this roughing the passer call? pic.twitter.com/Q4DCys1AHT
— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) January 14, 2024
It can be argued that Wilkins hit him late, which is apparently the conclusion officials reached when they penalized him. If it was late, it was borderline. The result of the penalty was substantial.
On the very same play, officials missed a hold of Dolphins linebacker Justin Houston by Chiefs left tackle Donovan Smith. Houston had beat Smith off the edge, and Smith grabbed a hold of his torso as he pursued Mahomes. But officials didn't call it.
Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel was furious. But he had no recourse.
The Chiefs went on five plays later to score a touchdown to put the game out of reach.