The defensive holding call (the whistle was blown on Steven Nelson, who was blocking Texans corner Charles James) came with 2:43 to go in the fourth quarter. Kansas City was trailing by 10 points and the touchdown would have put the team within a field goal with one possession potentially remaining. They had no timeouts, but the two-minute warning.
"(James) knew he was outflanked, so he literally flopped," Reid said, via The Kansas City Star. "Nelson put his hands out, put him down and the kid just jumped into his body. Obviously from the officials' perspective it didn't look like that."
Reid likely had a better view than we did. During the television broadcast and coach's film replay, all we have is a heightened look at something that happened well away from the action. We only really see James spilling into view after Chiefs returner Tyreek Hill blazes by. Right after the call, Reid appears absolutely flabbergasted.
Without seeing it at the field level, though, it's impossible to know James' intent. James has always been a gamer and it's hard to imagine him simply dropping just to gain an advantage on the play. And if he did? Good for him, he sold it well enough to keep the game in hand for the Texans. We've praised quarterbacks, punters, receivers and defensive backs for years thanks to their ability to draw a flag.
Reid knows the game comes down to a few more plays than that. Had the Chiefs scored, they still would have needed an onside kick or an incredibly fortuitous Texans drive afterward. With the two-minute warning included, the team wouldn't have had much time to mount a game-tying field goal drive anyway.