Chris Jones' comment to Matt Ryan turns into game-turning unsportsmanlike conduct penalty

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts’ surprising win over the Kansas City Chiefs turned on a penalty.

An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty handed out to Kansas City star defensive lineman Chris Jones for something he said to Indianapolis quarterback Matt Ryan.

What Jones said to draw the flag remains a mystery, for the moment at least, known only by the men on the field at the time.

“It was abusive language towards an opponent,” referee Shawn Smith said after the game.

Jones didn’t reveal what he said.

Neither did Ryan.

“I don’t think I said anything horrendous, but the official called it, and I can’t take it back,” Jones told the Kansas City Star. “I’ve got to do a better job of playing the game and not saying anything, obviously.”

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From the sounds of it, the Chiefs defensive tackle and the Colts quarterback were exchanging words back and forth, and Jones crossed a line. Trash talk in the NFL is normal between plays, and players are rarely flagged for the spoken word.

Jones did say he has never been flagged for talking before.

“I thought we were having a conversation with one another, but you never know what the official’s seeing,” Jones said. “He could have heard something that wasn’t allowed.”

The penalty ended up costing the Chiefs the win.

Jones was flagged after Ryan was dropped for a third-down sack by Kansas City linebacker Nick Bolton in Colts' territory with 5:06 remaining, a play that should have forced Indianapolis to punt. Instead, the Colts were given a first down, and Indianapolis reeled off 10 more plays, finishing the drive with Ryan’s game-winning touchdown pass to Jelani Woods.

“It was a big penalty,” Ryan said. “You’ve got to keep your cool sometimes in those situations.”

Asked about what Jones said, the Colts quarterback responded by saying he didn’t know what had been said a couple of times, then allowed that he wasn’t going to offer any details on the exchange.

“Pretty much,” Ryan said.

For everything he said about the rarity of the penalty, Jones did not put up much of a fight about the conversation.

“I take full blame,” Jones said. “I apologize to my team for putting us in that situation.”

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Colts vs Chiefs: Chris Jones' unsportsmanlike penalty turns game