For those who missed it, Gardner was called for a defensive holding call on Marquez Valdes-Scantling midway through the fourth quarter. It proved to be a crucial call for the Jets since it would have been an interception for them had the call not been made. And with the score at 23-20 with the Chiefs leading, things could have turned around for Zach Wilson and co.
The Jets got an interception called back after a defensive holding was called…
Good or bad call from the refs? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/vaW5t0avIT
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) October 2, 2023
Of course the holding call was the subject of controversy, with the Jets saying it shouldn't have been a holding call and the Chiefs arguing otherwise.
Patrick Mahomes, for his part, explained on Monday that he knew it was going to be a holding call when he saw Gardner grab his teammate.
“At the end of the day, you get your hands around the guy's neck like 15 yards downfield, they're gonna call something, it's gonna be holding or illegal contact. Once I saw him grab him, I threw it up there to give Marquez a chance kinda knowing the flag was gonna come,” Mahomes shared.
— 610SportsKC (@610SportsKC) October 2, 2023
When Sauce Gardner saw the Chiefs QB's comments, though, he couldn't help but react and disagree. He also explained what happened based on his perspective.
“Since we are commenting, let me say it from my perspective. For starters, this was around 5-7 y[ar]ds from the LOS … not 15,” Gardner said. “2. I extended my arms and he made the choice to lean on me with all of his weight which caused my hand to slide to the back of his pad; not his neck. I did not grab him, I actually made a conscious effort to remove my right arm as you can see in the video. He then tried to swim with his right hand and I pushed his arm down with my left hand lmaoo..
“There y'all have it. It was not a holding or illegal contact. Ohh my fault, it was holding b[e]c[ause] he threw the flag.”
Regardless if it's a holding call or not, it's certainly not the way fans would have like the game to end. The Jets put up a great fight and deserved a chance for the victory, but with all the controversial calls in the game, they were denied of that.