Sometimes when you wager on a college or pro football game, the result is decided long before the finish. There’s very little need to watch the game for the results on that specific game – only to glean facts that you can use down the road when betting on or against both teams.
And then there are games like those played on Monday night, when fate throws the untimeliest curveball and affects the outcome for all bettors on both the side and the total.
Every teaser (OVER, UNDER, Washington and Kansas City) covered. That also would have been the case of 99.5 percent of teasers before the final play of the game.
But for those of you fortunate – or unfortunate enough – to see it, the final play of the game did indeed decide who got the money on the straight bets. And for those of you holding Washington and UNDER tickets, 2-0 turned into 0-2 in the blink of an eye.
Or did it?
Anyone who paid an iota of attention to social media in the moments immediately following the game knew something was amiss, without even watching the game. For those who have somehow missed it, Kansas City’s Justin Houston returned a fumble for a touchdown as time expired to give the Chiefs a 29-20 win, and the only unbeaten record in the NFL standings. The hosts didn’t even bother to kick the extra point, but by league rules, the ball still had to be snapped on the conversion.
Both coaches made blunders at the end of each half to aid the total in getting to 49. There were very few second half possessions for each side – the Redskins had run exactly three offensive plays after the break with one second left in the third quarter and only eight second half plays when they got the ball back down 20-17 with 4:55 left in regulation. Without even bothering to go back to the first half clock mismanagement by Washington coach Jay Gruden and Kansas City coach Andy Reid, it’s easy to cite two more instances that changed the outcome in the last 54 seconds.
Washington moved the ball into field goal range but took its sweet time in doing so. By the time Chris Thompson plowed into the middle for no gain at the Kansas City 22-yard line, Gruden decided to call timeout with 28 seconds left on the play clock and 57 seconds left in the game coming before a third-and-two play. At that point, Reid wasn’t trying to call timeouts to get the ball back – the Redskins had suffered through numerous defensive injuries all night and were very banged up on that side.
Still, that timeout could have been called with 30 seconds left had the Redskins known they were going to take a shot at the end zone. Cousins threw it to Josh Doctson in the end zone, but he couldn’t hang on. The other option was tight end Jordan Reed, who was also an end-zone target. Dustin Hopkins banged a field goal through with 47 seconds left to tie the game at 20.
The Chiefs predictably moved down to the Redskins 25 before Alex Smith spiked the ball with eight seconds left to set up Harrison Butker’s 43-yard game-winning field goal. Those who had the Skins could bemoan Reid not running the clock down to where the field goal was going to be the last play, but he had a timeout left and wanted to ensure they could get a re-do in case something went awry. It didn’t, so four seconds remained after the Chiefs went ahead 23-20. With the wind at his back, Reid had Butker launch the kickoff out of the end zone, setting up the Redskins with one play from their own 25-yard line.
The play-by-play says it all without telling the story (which is better left for you to find the replay yourself): Cousins pass complete short right to Jamison Crowder for minus-7 yards. Crowder fumbles, recovered by Reed, lateral to Chris Thompson for minus-2 yards. Thompson fumbles, recovered by Houston and returned 13 yards for a touchdown.
That’s how you get to 29-20, and see six-figure swings to wrap up the betting week at sportsbooks worldwide.