Referee defends sack call that benefited Chiefs

11:41 PM ET

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Referee Tony Corrente said Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was “being controlled quite a bit” as the reason that a key play in Monday’s game against the New England Patriots was ruled a sack and not a fumble.

The Chiefs went on to win 26-10, but the play happened at a juncture in the second quarter when the game was still in doubt. Kansas City led 6-3 at the time.

The ruling allowed the Chiefs to punt from their own 35 with less than six minutes left in the half, rather than having the Patriots take possession deep in Kansas City’s end of the field. Replays showed that Mahomes lost the ball before going to the ground.

“As he was being controlled, other players were coming in at him,” Corrente said of Mahomes. “And so, with those other players bearing down on him, a quarterback is considered in the grasp, and his forward progress is considered stopped when I feel as though the player’s safety is being jeopardized.

“And that was the case in this instance. So rather than allow him to get hit by a second and third player, we

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