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Buffalo Bills set team record for most penalty yards

The record-setting game against the Bears involved yards, but not good ones

Chicago Bears v Buffalo Bills Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

In a world where data and statistics become more accessible by the minute, there’s always a fun little nugget of information to dig up. Cue Mike Rodak, who pointed out that the Buffalo Bills set a franchise record this past Sunday in their loss to the Chicago Bears. That’s right, the Bills set a “best” in team history for yardage—penalty yardage that is. The 163 penalty yards on Sunday broke the old record of 159. As Rodak also noted, that record was in place since 1970—November 29th, 1970 to be exact—when the Buffalo Bills lost to the Boston Patriots

A large part of the record-setting day came courtesy of recently-released cornerback Phillip Gaines. Mike Rodak does the legwork again by noting that Gaines had 131 penalty yards on the season. The next highest player, B.W. Webb with the New York Giants, is a distant second at 77 yards. Most of Gaines’s total came against Chicago. Two defensive pass-interference calls handed the Bears 90 yards total (and 11.0 Harm). You can see our full penalty coverage of the game here.

If you’re face-palming after learning of this new dubious record, the Bills aren’t in bad shape on the all-time list, even with this new franchise record. Believe it or not, the 163-yard game is tied for 31st place since 1960—when the Bills came on the NFL scene. First place goes to the Tennessee Titans with 212 penalty yards in one game. This record was set during the 1999 season where this particular Titans team didn’t have any sort of weird connection with the Buffalo Bills—a connection where we might still hold a grudge to this day because of an uncalled penalty. Nope. Nothing like that at all.