12 Nov 2012
Do you like penalties? If so, you liked the Bills-Patriots game on Sunday. It had lots and lots of penalties. Twenty-two flags in all, in fact. The Bills fans definitely felt like their team wasn't getting a fair shake. Fourteen of the penalties were called on Buffalo, and ten of those penalties were in the first half. A couple of them were very, very questionable.
During the game, I promised all the Buffalo fans on Twitter that I would go through all the penalties on NFL Game Rewind and try to figure out just how much the Bills got jobbed by the refs. Upon further review, most of the penalties on Buffalo were legit. However, the questionable ones happened to be the longest ones, in particular one DPI call that should have been Illegal Contact and another that was just plain ridiculous.
Here's the breakdown:
Q1 12:29 PENALTY on BUF-85-L.Smith, False Start, 5 yards, enforced at BUF 40 - No Play.
Smith definitely jumps.
Q1 12:04 PENALTY on BUF-77-C.Glenn, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at BUF 35 - No Play.
Glenn hooks Chandler Jones with his right hand as Jones is spinning around him to get to the QB. Not the most egregious foul, but fairly clear.
Q1 11:37 PENALTY on BUF-60-K.Urbik, False Start, 5 yards, enforced at BUF 25 - No Play.
Urbik slowly moves backward before the snap.
Q1 4:49 PENALTY on BUF-37-G.Wilson, Defensive Pass Interference, 8 yards, enforced at BUF 9 - No Play.
Wilson grabs Gronkowski with his right hand trying to hold him back from catching the ball in the corner. Fouts says the ball is uncatchable on the broadcast, but I disagree. Gronkowski could have dived for this if he had not been held back.
Q1 4:01 PENALTY on BUF-27-S.Gilmore, Defensive Pass Interference, 2 yards, enforced at BUF 3 - No Play.
Gilmore actually gets his hands on Lloyd's neck, and completely impedes Lloyd's movement, blocking him from where the ball is going.
Q1 3:54 PENALTY on BUF-70-E.Wood, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced atBUF 20 - No Play.
Wood is blocking Wilfork. This is a questionable call, one of those "you could theoretically call holding on every play" calls. I thought Wood had his hands inside Wilfork's numbers, which is legal.
Q2 13:07 PENALTY on BUF-75-C.Hairston, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at NE 11 - No Play.
Hairston twists Rob Ninkovich and takes him to the ground.
Q2 5:46 PENALTY on BUF-31-J.Byrd, Defensive Pass Interference, 17 yards, enforced at NE 18 - No Play.
This is the strange one where the intended receiver is actually Edelman, not Gronkowski. The officials just blow the timing here. Byrd's contact is before the pass is thrown and should be Illegal Contact.
Q2 5:03 PENALTY on BUF-27-S.Gilmore, Face Mask (15 Yards), 15 yards, enforced at NE 47.
This is one is very obvious.
Q2 4:42 PENALTY on BUF-27-S.Gilmore, Defensive Pass Interference, 37 yards, enforced at BUF 38 - No Play.
This one, however, is insane. The pass lands past the photographers. One of the biggest DPI "uncatchable pass" mistakes I've ever seen.
Q3 9:44 PENALTY on BUF-14-R.Fitzpatrick, Delay of Game, 3 yards, enforced at BUF 7 - No Play.
Delay of Game is a hard one to screw up.
Q3 8:53 PENALTY on BUF-33-R.Brooks, Unnecessary Roughness, 15 yards, enforced at NE 46.
33-R.Brooks ran out of bounds then ran back in. Marked incorrectly in PBP, should be listed as Unsportsmanlike Conduct.
Q3 3:15 PENALTY on BUF-77-C.Glenn, False Start, 5 yards, enforced at NE 2 - No Play.
Glenn oddly takes a step back, then forward, jumping out of his stance early.
Q4 14:10 PENALTY on BUF-20-T.Choice, Illegal Block Above the Waist, 6 yards, enforced at BUF 12.
This one is pretty clear too. It's a bit odd that they always announce "Illegal Block in the Back" on TV, but the penalty is actually "Illegal Block Above the Waist." I can't tell who the gunner is that Choice pushes down.
So, your totals:
Actual penalties: 14 penalties for 148 yards.
Questionable penalties: 2 penalties for 18 yards (DPI on George Wilson in the corner, and holding on Eric Wood).
Clear mistakes: 2 penalties for 49 yards (The ridiculous 37-yard DPI on Stephon Gilmore, plus the 17-yard DPI on Jarius Byrd should have been a five-yard Illegal Contact penalty.)
We might as well see how the officiating was against both teams, so here's a log of the Patriots' penalties. Notice that in the second half, the penalties went from being mostly called on Buffalo to being mostly called on New England.
Q2 15:00 PENALTY on NE-75-V.Wilfork, Face Mask (15 Yards), 15 yards, enforced at NE 34.
Not only does Wilfork hold on to the face mask for a long time, but rookie Justin Francis gets some too.
Q2 1:01 PENALTY on NE-37-A.Dennard, Unnecessary Roughness, 15 yards, enforced at NE 36.
Dennard dives for Fitzpatrick's legs when he's about one step away from going out of bounds. Really stupid, and a totally deserved penalty.
Q3 3:39 PENALTY on NE-55-B.Spikes, Encroachment, declined.
Spikes is covering Scott Chandler flexed wide and just takes an extra step across the neutral zone by mistake. The Bills completed a 12-yard pass anyway.
Q4 10:40 PENALTY on NE-96-J.Cunningham, Encroachment, 5 yards, enforced at BUF 42 - No Play.
Cunningham jumps, obvious.
Q4 10:36 PENALTY on NE-55-B.Spikes, Roughing the Passer, 15 yards, enforced at BUF 47 - No Play.
This didn't look like head to head contact from the press box, but it was clear on the TV replay. I will note, however, that the contact doesn't knock off Fitzpatrick's helmet. I think it just wasn't attached tightly enough and it came off when he hit the ground.
Q4 9:16 PENALTY on NE-51-J.Mayo, Unnecessary Roughness, 15 yards, enforced at NE 31.
Somebody remind Jerod Mayo not to tackle a guy who has gone into the white area. That's called the "sideline."
Q4 8:21 PENALTY on NE-50-R.Ninkovich, Encroachment, 3 yards, enforced at NE 5 - No Play.
Ninkovich jumps early.
Q4 2:21 PENALTY on NE-22-S.Ridley, False Start, 5 yards, enforced at BUF 4 - No Play.
Ridley puts his weight on the balls of his feet in preparation for the play to begin, loses his balance, and takes a tiny step.
Actual penalties: 7 penalties for 73 yards, plus one declined.
Questionable penalties/clear mistakes: None.
29 comments, Last at 14 Nov 2012, 10:48pm by Insancipitory
Possibly the closest Super Bowl matchup in history also poses the question: how much does it mean when certain aspects of an NFL team improve dramatically in the second half of the season?