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How the Chiefs were able to get away with holding against the Dolphins: An explanation of an NFL rule

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Despite appearing to be the most threatening offense in the league for much of the regular season, the Miami Dolphins experienced the end of their 2023 campaign on Saturday in a freezing game at Arrowhead Stadium. While the offense remained quiet throughout the night, the Dolphins could have had a chance to regain possession down 12 points with 13 minutes remaining.

However, a non-call on an apparent holding and a roughing the passer penalty extended the drive, resulting in a Chiefs touchdown. Dolphins fans were upset about the non-call, but it was revealed that the referees were correct to not make the call.

We do see an apparent hold by the Chiefs’ Donovan Smith on Justin Houston. But there’s a reason it wasn’t called: the rip-move exception. A rip move is a pass-rush technique where the rusher will rip through the protection by going low and swinging through in almost an uppercut motion.

Houston attempted to do that on the play, and NFL rules allow offensive linemen to counter rip moves with blocks that would normally be called holding.

When the refs identified the rip move, they allowed for Smith’s hold to go uncalled. The Dolphins, of course, didn’t help themselves either by roughing Patrick Mahomes at the end of the play. That’s what really made the difference — the hold/non-hold would have resulted in a Chiefs punt had that roughing never occurred. A similar play happened last year during the Chiefs-Bengals game.

While the refs did call the play correctly, fans still had plenty of thoughts on the play and how little broadcasts mention the rip-move exception.

This was how Twitter reacted

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