Travis Kelce knocks controversial holding call that helped his Chiefs beat Jets: ‘Let the guys play’

It surprised nobody when the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the New York Jets on Sunday night, but what did surprise viewers is how close it was to actually being a Gang Green victory.

Kansas City was up just three points in the fourth quarter, and on 3rd and 20, Patrick Mahomes threw an interception. However, it was called back for defensive holding on Sauce Gardner, and it gave the Chiefs an automatic first down. They were able to continue their drive and waste the clock to triple zeroes to clinch the win.

But the flag was thrown rather late, and it is certainly up for debate whether there was a hold in the first place.

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Travis Kelce against Jets

Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs talks with C.J. Uzomah and Sauce Gardner of the New York Jets after the game at MetLife Stadium on Oct. 1, 2023, in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)

By the rule book, the flag was probably rightfully thrown, but even Travis Kelce, who benefited from the flag, wasn’t in love with the laundry being thrown.

“Every holding call, I feel like, is controversial,” the tight end admitted on his “New Heights” podcast with his brother, Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce.

“I do not like when officials call questionable things at the end of games,” Jason said.

“I’m with you on that. I think, let the guys play through,” Travis replied.

Jason said if it’s late in the game, penalties have to be “egregious.” But Travis did flip the switch a bit. 

Travis Kelce and Sauce Gardner

Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs swaps jerseys with Sauce Gardner of the New York Jets after their game on Oct. 1, 2023. (Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)

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“In my mind, you just have to not put it in their hands. Don’t even put it in the refs’ hands to make that f—ing call,” Travis said. “You gotta play that borderline of being physical and playing smart in a situation like that, because those calls are detrimental if you get hit with them.”

It’s not the first time the Chiefs benefited from a controversial call late in the game. They were able to knock down a chip-shot field goal in the closing seconds of Super Bowl LVII in February after a defensive hold. However, cornerback James Bradberry admitted to committing the penalty on Juju Smith-Schuster.

Travis Kelce looks on

Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs on the sidelines during the New York Jets game on Oct. 1, 2023. (Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)

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The Chiefs moved to 3-1 on the season, winning three straight after losing in the NFL season opener to the Detroit Lions.

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