The game-changing unsportsmanlike conduct penalty Chiefs star defensive lineman Chris Jones received late in Kansas City's 20-17 loss to Indianapolis on Sunday reportedly was a result of directing "disturbing language" at Colts quarterback Matt Ryan.
With around five minutes remaining in regulation, the Chiefs came up with a big third-down stop by sacking Ryan for a huge loss. After the play, Jones and Ryan exchanged words before an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was called on the defensive lineman.
Rather than the Colts being faced with a fourth-and-long, they received a fresh set of downs. Indy went on to score the go-ahead touchdown several plays later, leaving Kansas City with less than 30 seconds on the clock.
According to ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio, the postgame report from referee Shawn Smith stated that Jones used “disturbing language” that has “no place in professional football” toward Ryan.
Jones disagreed with that description.
As noted by Florio, "Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1(c) specifically includes the use of 'baiting or taunting acts or words that may engender ill will between teams' within the definition of unsportsmanlike conduct."
Both players declined to go into details about the verbal exchange following the game, though Jones did comment that he didn't think he said "anything horrendous" and was surprised by the flag.
“I don’t think I said anything horrendous, but the official called it, and I can’t take it back,” Jones said, via the Kansas City Star. “I’ve got to do a better job of playing the game and not saying anything, obviously.
“I thought we were having a conversation with one another, but you never know what the official’s seeing. He could have heard something that wasn’t allowed.
“I take full blame. I apologize to my team for putting us in that situation.”
Jones and Chiefs will look to rebound from their first loss of the season when they visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday Night Football.