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Penalty recap: Buffalo Bills, New York Jets avoid flags

It’s a good thing the non-penalty portions of the game were exciting. Neither the Bills nor the Jets were flagged much.

I’m sorry everyone. This week is pretty bad when it comes to penalty data. Both the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets decided they had better things to do than break the rules. For you flag lovers out there you’ll just have to read more about the offense and defense and score and such, because this week is a quick one.

Traditional and Advanced Metrics

Penalty count

The Bills had four penalties assessed. Not only is that well below league average, it’s a drastic improvement from how they’ve been doing. Prior to this game, the Bills were averaging 7.7 penalties per game. There were no declined or offset penalties for the Bills.

The Jets had two penalties declined and one accepted. The two were declined because you can only accept one penalty per play (in general) and all three penalties were called on the same snap. So the entire Jets penalty summary is one play.

Penalty yards

The Bills’ four penalties led to 30 yards assessed. This is well below league average, and expected based on count. The Jets’ singular penalty also led to predictably low yardage.

For negated yardage, three of the Bills flags impacted a positive play for a total of eight yards. The Jets’ one accepted penalty negated 18 yards. In terms of total field position shift, the teams weren’t too far apart.

Penalty Harm

Buffalo Bills

We may as well discuss them all I suppose. Jerry Hughes got the only “boo-boo” with an offside call that was yardage only. This was Hughes’ fourth penalty this season. He’s also had two neutral zone infraction flags and an unsportsmanlike conduct.

Terrell Pryor was flagged for holding and wiped out a one-yard run from LeSean McCoy. In the Harm formula that leads to 10 assessed yards + 1 impacted yard = 1.1 Harm. Similarly, Jordan Mills’ illegal block wiped out a six-yard catch from Logan Thomas for 1.6 Harm.

The most interesting penalty of the day was the illegal shift. The Bills have had issues with illegal formations this year and this isn’t a far cry from the same woes. This flag is the result of players being unprepared for the specific play.

Skill position players have a good amount of leeway to move around pre-snap. During the snap itself though, only one player is allowed to be in motion. The motion needs to be parallel to the line of scrimmage or moving away from it. This is notable as both Patrick DiMarco and LeSean McCoy are moving parallel to the line. This results in an inability to say which player deserves the flag, hence the “N/A” above. McCoy only ran for one yard per the official play by play, but it was good enough for a first down. As it was fourth down when this play was run, it results in 5 assessed yards + 1 negated yard + 3 downs = 3.6 Harm.

The Bills ended the day with 6.8 Harm which is a pretty nice day on the penalty front. Albeit a fairly boring one.

New York Jets

So yeah, all three of these guys (Jordan Leggett, Kelvin Beachum and Jermaine Kearse) were called for holding on the same play. And that’s it. It wiped out an 18-yard run by Elijah McGuire on first down for 2.8 Harm. When it comes to little yellow flags the Jets had a great day. Let’s take a look.

There you go. The entire penalty performance in one convenient clip. The one that counted was somewhat fringe as far as penalties go. If it hadn’t been called there wouldn’t have been an uproar. Though this angle makes it hard to see, Kelvin Beachum looks to have grabbed at someone while falling and likely earned his flag. Jermaine Kearse for sure is guilty as he grabs and twists Lorenzo Alexander. With such an absurd play, let’s check out the reaction from the coaches.

Sean McDermott is so shocked he forgot to clap.