The Ravens were kicking themselves over wasted opportunities after a 33-28 loss Sunday to the Kansas City Chiefs. There were overthrown passes, busted coverages and missed tackles.

But the Ravens were also asking questions — especially of the officiating inside Arrowhead Stadium. Questionable calls dogged the team on both sides of the ball.


“The refs can control what they can control,” wide receiver Willie Snead IV said. “They’re human. But some of those calls could’ve gone either way. I’m not going to talk bad about the refs. They called what they called. I think we’re going to look at the film and get better from it.”

Snead had a specific grievance. In the second quarter, running back Gus Edwards busted loose for a 45-yard carry down the right sideline. Snead was called for holding. The Ravens went from first-and-10 deep in Chiefs territory to first-and-17 from their 30.

The drive’s momentum was lost, and when Kansas City took over at its 17-yard line, it needed just three plays to score again. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ 83-yard connection with rookie wide receiver Mecole Hardman nearly doubled the Chiefs’ lead to 20-6.

Snead said the official told him that his hands were “outside” against the player he was blocking. Snead disagreed, calling it a “ticky-tack call,” and explained that he was “just moving my feet. And the guy cut up inside, so it’s not like I was restraining him. He was already gone by the time he tried to get away from me. I don’t know.”

Said coach John Harbaugh: "I don’t see how you call that. I let him know what I thought about it. He told me what he thought. We’ll see what the [NFL’s] graders think.”

Another questionable call cost the Ravens a turnover. Late in the third quarter, Mahomes scrambled to his right on third-and-6 and targeted Hardman for a first-down throw. But cornerback Brandon Carr stepped in front of the pass for a much-needed interception.

It would’ve been Mahomes’ first pick of the season, but nearby safety Tony Jefferson was called for pass interference on the play. Even with the questionable amount of contact, Harbaugh decided not to challenge the penalty, perhaps dubious of his chances after last week’s upholding of a noncall against Ravens wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood" Brown. The Chiefs scored two plays later to extend their lead to 17.

“I’m not going to sit here and argue with the ref," Jefferson said. "He made the call. There’s no point in arguing with him. It’s not like he’s going to change it because I said I disagree. So it is what it is. Just got to do better, play better, cover better.”

Added safety Earl Thomas III: “When we got a turnover taken away from us, that definitely affects the game tremendously in my eyes. Anytime we have a chance to get momentum and we capitalize and they take it away from us — whether it was our fault or not — it hurts. So flags can also play a big part in the game.”

‘King of the screens’

On Thursday, Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale called Mahomes the “king of the screens,” among other lofty titles. On Sunday, the Ravens saw why.

Late in the third quarter, with the Chiefs already up 23-13 and in the red zone again, the Ravens brought pressure up the middle and to Mahomes’ right on second-and-9. Mahomes looked left for an easy screen pass to running back LeSean McCoy, who wasn’t touched until he was inside the 5-yard line on a 14-yard score.

That wasn’t the game’s most back-breaking screen. With 1:51 remaining in the fourth quarter, with the Chiefs’ lead down to five and the Ravens out of timeouts and needing a stop, Mahomes faked a wide receiver screen and instead dumped the ball off to Darrell Williams, who had four linemen carve out 16 yards of space. The game was effectively over after that.

“When you’re defending a screen, everybody’s got to be alert for the screen," Jefferson said. “That play’s really kind of a play that everybody on the defense is involved in, so [when] we kind of say, ‘Who’s responsible for a screen,’ we say, ‘Everybody.’ So like I said, back to the drawing board. We’ll look at it, see the things we’ve got to fix.”