One of the many pivotal plays in the Kansas City Chiefs 9-6 loss to the Baltimore Ravens was a fumbled quarterback sneak early in the third quarter. The Chiefs recovered a fumble on the second half kickoff, setting them up in great position to score and take their first lead of the season (in regulation).
Matt Cassel tried to connect with Dwayne Bowe in the end zone on the ensuing drive and a defensive pass interference call on the play put the ball at the 1-yard line.
Cassel and the offensive line walked up to the line to take control of the game. The snap was fired off quickly but...
I couldn't believe it. Simply could not believe it. The Chiefs fumbled on the quarterback sneak and Ed Reed recovered it.
If you want someone to blame, Ryan Lilja is accepting responsibility.
"That's my fault. I did not get it back there," Lilja said after the game, via comments sent out by the Chiefs. "I apologize to our fans, and I apologize to our guys. You can't do that obviously. You can't do that down there. We have to fix that. Like I said, that's my fault. I left it short and cost our team."
Lilja of course is a career guard filling in at center after Rodney Hudson went down.
Looking over the replay, it does appear as if the snap was short of Cassel's hands. Here's a shot of the ball as it's about to hit Cassel's hands:
And another as it gets closer. You can see Cassel's hand is still open, which means he hasn't grasped the ball yet. It never quite made it there.
Cassel immediately falls forward -- I think because he realizes the ball is getting away from him -- and tries to land on it but to no avail.
The Ravens recovered and that was a big swing in the game. A "huge" swing, according to Ravens coach John Harbaugh who noted that it was actually a 10-point swing because the Ravens came back down the field and scored.
A very interesting part of all this is that the Ravens' Ed Reed said he knew what was coming.
"I knew it was a quarterback sneak," Reed said. "Me and Ray (Lewis) were yelling at each other, and I saw the ball come out. (The ball) hit his lineman, the center's leg, and I saw it come out."
Reed said he knew because Tom Brady does the same thing, and Cassel used to in New England.
"They were going to snap it so quick, and that's why (Cassel) probably fumbled it," Reed said. "He was trying to get it so quick, and I saw it coming. I've seen so many times with (New England's Tom) Brady and beings that they have a Brady background, Cassel used to be with Brady over there, it was right there and the gap was open."
But they fumbled. They fumbled!
Imagine what the feeling would be right now if they hadn't fumbled that snap....