Welcome to this week's format for penalty reviews, affectionately known as ”I'm on vacation and don't have access to everything I normally would.” In case you missed the game, the officials made a few curious decisions this week that helped the New England Patriots defeat the Buffalo Bills. We'll stick to penalties for discussion's sake, but feel free to vent about anything officiating in the comments.
The Buffalo Bills were flagged a total of seven times. Three of these were declined by the Patriots. With only four accepted flags, the Bills were dinged for 83 yards which is shockingly high. League averages tend to be about 6 flags for about 50 yards.
The high yards per penalty is due to Micah Hyde being hit with a 44-yard defensive pass interference when the refs temporarily forgot who was wearing which colors.
On an 18-yard scamper by LeSean McCoy, our old friend offensive holding came back with a vengeance courtesy of Deonte Thompson. Thanks to when it occurred, the Bills kept 8 of his yards at least.
Trae Elston got on on the defensive pass interference fun, turning an incomplete pass into a 29-yard gain for the Pats. It set them up first and goal as it occurred in the end zone. On the next play, the Bills were called for 12 men on the field. Mike Gillislee had been stuffed on the play, so why not give them another crack at it. Interestingly, the play before the pass interference the Bills were also flagged (penalty was declined). The score at the time was tie at 16 toward the end of the 3rd quarter. Interesting.
No harm ratings this week, so here's a wacky thing instead. The Bills were hit with two penalties for 12 men on the field, which has been a very rare thing this season. (One of them was actually 15! men on the field.)
New England Patriots
The Patriots had two penalties for 20 yards. Both are excellent compared to league rates.
Toward the end of the first half, an obvious encroachment was called on Adam Butler. The five yards didn't change the outcome of the drive which was somewhat controversial.
Their other penalty was defensive holding by Malcolm Butler. While it did give a couple free downs, it came at the end of the fourth quarter and didn't impact the game a heckuva lot.
If you checked in last week, there was a bit of a preview on the officiating crew. When discussing trends, it was noted that Craig Wrolstad and his group tend to be fairly lenient. That held up. It was further noted that this crew also has a significantly lower number of flags called against the home team than normal. Well then.
Everyone see what Jerry Hughes said after the game?
As Bills DE Jerry Hughes entered the locker room after Sunday's loss to New England, ESPN cameras captured him saying, "Somebody in Boston got the refs on the payroll. Y'all paying them big money out here. Still ain't gonna win, though." Hughes was... https://t.co/mjmKdr9JtL— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) December 24, 2017