The NFL Sunday nighter between the Patriots and the Chiefs was a thrilling shootout that eventually ended 43-40 for New England as they kicked a field goal while time expired.
Before that, though, there was a strange play where Kansas City linebacker Breeland Speaks appeared to have Tom Brady wrapped up and sacked on a crucial third-and-goal play. Instead of taking him to the ground, Speaks just sort of… let go, and allowed Brady to turn a broken play into a short run into the endzone.
— Kevin Boilard (@247KevinBoilard) October 15, 2018
It’s possible the sack wouldn’t have counted, since there was also defensive holding on the play (although the holding may have been after the non-sack occurred, which would have meant the sack counted). Regardless, it was a huge missed opportunity for the Chiefs. After the game, Speaks admitted that the crackdown on soft — and sometimes completely bogus — roughing the passer penalties caused him to take it easy on Brady.
Breeland Speaks said he thought the ball was out on Tom Brady's touchdown run, and that a penalty was on his mind in letting up. "Especially in New England. We're in New England. Tom's going to get the call."
— Sam Mellinger (@mellinger) October 15, 2018
Speaks definitely had Brady’s ankles wrapped up, but without being able to look up and see whether Brady actually released the ball, he felt he had no choice but to let go to avoid picking up a costly flag. The NFL’s new rule is definitely changing the way players play the game, but not necessarily in a positive way like they hoped. Last night’s game potentially changed drastically because Speaks felt he couldn’t play normal football, and another player already badly injured himself trying to avoid landing on a quarterback after a sack.
NFL, please do something to fix this. It’s awful.