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#pounditFriday, January 21, 2022

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Look: Arrowhead Stadium ran out of fireworks because Chiefs kept scoring

Patrick Mahomes Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs encountered a very good problem to have on Sunday.

The Chiefs trounced the Pittsburgh Steelers 42-21 during their Wild Card playoff game this weekend. They hung six touchdowns on the Steelers D, including a stretch of 35 unanswered points. Patrick Mahomes threw five of those touchdowns to five different receivers (including 315-pound offensive lineman Nick Allegretti). Tight end Travis Kelce even got in on the fun with a two-yard touchdown pass to Byron Pringle in the fourth quarter.

Kansas City found the end zone with such ferocity and such frequency that a hilarious message aired on the video boards of GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium: an announcement that the venue had run out of fireworks to set off for touchdowns. The video message apologized to the Chiefs fans and asked them to direct their complaints to the nearest help booth.

Fortunately, Arrowhead Stadium had a separate stash of fireworks saved specifically for the end of the game. Those fireworks were set off without issue as the game went final and the Chiefs won.

The Chiefs were huge 12-point favorites heading into the game, and they definitely took care of business. But the pyrotechnics crew at Arrowhead Stadium did not expect the team to be quite this dominant, even if this is actually something that has already happened to the Chiefs before.

Photo: Nov 22, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) throws against the Las Vegas Raiders during the second half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Referee Ramon George had trouble spotting ball on final play for Cowboys

Referee Ramon George collides

The Dallas Cowboys have nobody but themselves to blame for their 23-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Wild Card game on Sunday. But some of their crazed fans may have it out for referee Ramon George over the way the game ended.

The Cowboys inexplicably decided to run a quarterback draw up the middle with 14 seconds left in their game against the Niners despite not having any timeouts left (video here). The playcall was always going to be risky because so many things have to go right in order to get a spike off after the play ends.

There are players from both teams that have to get lined up, and then the official has to set the ball before the offense can spike it. In Sunday’s case, George didn’t help.

George tried making his way down the field but then ran into Dak Prescott and the Cowboys’ offensive line while trying to set the ball for the spike.

Every second mattered, so George’s inability to get to the ball kept the Cowboys from being able to spike. But that is 100 percent Dallas’ fault.

There is always traffic around the ball when trying to hurry up for a spike. Between getting your players set, and the opposing players set, and the officials in place, you’re taking a huge gamble, and the offense does not receive the benefit of the doubt when time is ticking.

Another big issue is that Prescott didn’t help Dallas’ situation. He tried handing the ball to his center to set it up, but he really should have been trying to hand it to the official; the ball cannot be snapped without the official setting it first.

Ultimately, if you’re going to try and risk a run with no timeouts left before killing the clock with a spike, you need to give yourself at least 20 seconds to be safe. Dallas did not, and that’s why their season ended on that play. Between this play and their 14 penalties, the Cowboys’ mistakes were very much self-inflicted.

Look: Unimpressed Cowboys fan goes viral

Cowboys fan looks disappointed

The Dallas Cowboys were not looking so hot in their NFC Wild Card playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. The look on the face of one Cowboys fan said it all.

This disappointed Cowboys fan was shown on TV after Dallas fell behind 23-7 and punted the ball away late in the third quarter.

Her reaction completely reflected the feelings of all Cowboys fans at the time.

The fan must have been alerted by some friends that she had been shown on TV.

A few minutes later, CBS showed the same fan, only this time she was looking at her phone and smiled.

She should be proud; she became a meme!

Report: Raiders leaving coaches in limbo over Rich Bisaccia’s status

Rich Bisaccia on the sidelines

Rich Bisaccia made a strong case for keeping the Las Vegas Raiders’ head coaching job after leading the team to the postseason, but it is unclear if he will get a fair shot. Apparently there are many with the organization who know about as much as the general public about the situation.

Michael Silver of reports that Bisaccia and his assistants had been told nothing about their futures as of Sunday, which was the day after the Raiders’ playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The sense is that Derek Carr and other players want Bisaccia to stay, but owner Mark Davis could pursue a flashier option.

Silver added that the decision the Raiders make could impact Carr’s future with the team. The quarterback has two years remaining on his current deal. General manager Mike Mayock’s future is also in question, though a recent report made it seem like he is as good as gone.

Bisaccia took over the Raiders in October after Jon Gruden’s leaked email scandal and abrupt resignation. He led Las Vegas to a 7-5 record and a playoff amid difficult and unusual circumstances.

Despite that, the Raiders appear to be leaning toward not hiring Bisaccia for the permanent head coach job. They could wind up targeting a much bigger name.

Photo: Dec 5, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders interim coach Rich Bisaccia reacts against the Washington Football Team in the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals had cool gesture with game balls after first playoff win in 31 years

Zac Taylor gives a locker room speech

The Bengals on Saturday won their first playoff game in over three decades. Head coach Zac Taylor said afterword that the game ball would go to the city of Cincinnati, and he wasn’t kidding.

Taylor told his team after their 26-19 win over the Las Vegas Raiders that he was going to pass out game balls at bars around Cincinnati.

He got right to it. In the video below, you can see Taylor and Bengals punter Kevin Huber presenting some excited bar patrons with a game ball.

Bengals fans have been through a lot of misery in recent years. Their team’s playoff win drought was the longest in the NFL. You can understand why Taylor was happy to help snap the torturous streak. The Bengals may have benefitted from a highly controversial call, but that is already a distant memory.

Report: Russell Wilson not totally committed to Seahawks

Russell Wilson in Seahawks gear

Russell Wilson has said publicly that he is hoping to remain with the Seattle Seahawks this offseason, but it sounds like he is far less certain about his future than he has let on.

Wilson wants to explore potential trade options and see if another team could give him a better opporunity to win, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports. While the quarterback has not demanded a trade, he is open to one if he feels it would help him win another Super Bowl.

Wilson, who has a full no-trade clause, was openly unhappy with the state of the Seahawks last offseason. His agent even went public with a list of teams for which Wilson would be willing to play. The Seahawks appeared to address some of his concerns, but they then struggled through a 7-10 season. It was the first time since they drafted Wilson in 2012 that the Seahawks have finished below .500.

If Wilson wants to remain in Seattle, the Seahawks are unlikely to trade him. But if he flirts with the idea of a trade again, they may not be able to do enough to convince him to stick around.

Photo: Oct 7, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) stands on the sideline during the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Allen makes embarrassing admission about touchdown pass against Patriots

Dawson Knox falls while catching

Josh Allen put together a historic performance in his Buffalo Bills’ dominant 47-17 win over the New England Patriots in their AFC Wild Card game on Saturday night.

Allen went 21/25 for 305 yards and five touchdowns in the freezing cold. His 157.6 passer rating was nearly perfect. Allen became the first quarterback in playoff history with 300 passing yards, five or more passing touchdowns, and 60 rushing yards, according to Pro Football Reference.

The Bills also accomplished an incredible feat in their win.

As impressive as Allen was in the game, there is one thing he is not taking credit for.

The Bills quarterback admitted after his team’s win that his first touchdown pass of the game, which went to Dawson Knox in the back of the end zone, was unintentional. Allen admitted he was trying to throw the ball away and didn’t even know it went for a TD.

Here is a look at the play:

Well, now that he mentions it, it sure looked like Allen was giving up on the play when he made the throw. Still, we won’t hold that against him.

That’s how you know everything was going Buffalo’s way. Even when he was trying to throw the ball away, a pass still went for a touchdown.

Had Buffalo lost the game, Allen probably wouldn’t have admitted it. But since they won, what difference does it make to admit the truth?

NFL executive ripped on Jerome Boger over officiating blunder

Jerome Booger looks up

Jerome Boger’s crew made a huge mistake while officiating Saturday’s AFC Wild Card game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Las Vegas Raiders. Apparently the error came as no surprise to some around the NFL.

NFL reporter Albert Breer said on Saturday that he received a sarcastic text message from a league executive about Boger’s crew. The executive was not at all surprised to see Boger’s crew make a big mistake.

The mistake from Boger’s crew came in the second quarter and helped Cincinnati get a touchdown to make it 20-6 before halftime (see it here). Cincinnati won the game 26-19.

The referees blew an early whistle that would have made the play dead before Joe Burrow threw a touchdown pass. The down should have been replayed, but Boger’s crew allowed the touchdown to stand.

Photo: Oct 29, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; NFL referee Jerome Boger (23) during the game of the Indianapolis Colts against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

JuJu Smith-Schuster set to make surprise return in Wild Card game

JuJu Smith-Schuster

The Pittsburgh Steelers will be getting an unexpected bit of help on Sunday for their AFC Wild Card game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster announced on Twitter Saturday that he has recovered from his shoulder injury and would apparently be available to play Sunday night.

There had been some rumblings that Smith-Schuster might be healthy enough to play Sunday, but there was still some uncertainty about his potential role. He has not played since October, and it is yet to be determined how big his role in the offense might be. The fact that he’ll be out there at all is undoubtedly a boost for Pittsburgh, though.

Smith-Schuster was expected to miss the remainder of the season after going down with the injury. The Steelers making the playoffs basically gave him a much-needed extra week to get healthy. He only had 15 catches and no touchdowns in five games before getting hurt, so it might be best to temper expectations for Sunday no matter what.

Report: Mike McCarthy could be on hot seat with early playoff loss

Mike McCarthy coaching the Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys won 12 games in 2021 and an NFC East title, but a new report suggests that may not be enough to keep coach Mike McCarthy employed.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones could consider a coaching change if the team falls early in the playoffs, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. Sources told La Canfora that Jones would likely at least consider a change if Dallas falls in the Wild Card round.

If the Cowboys do make a change, it is reportedly likely that they would promote from within. The Jones family is known to be enamored with offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, and would hate to see the Cowboys lose Moore to another team.

Any change would certainly look harsh for McCarthy, especially after the team jumped to 12-5 after going 6-10 in his first year. While a change seems like an unlikely outcome, there is precedent. Jones went out of his way to keep Jason Garrett before promoting him to head coach in 2010. McCarthy could be a casualty if the owner opts to take a similar route with Moore.

Photo: Oct 3, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy on the field before the game against the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports