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Penalty recap: Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills

The penalties weren’t out of hand at least...

I know the game was tough to watch, but let’s look for a silver lining. The Buffalo Bills had one of their better penalty performances yesterday, which totally matters and definitely makes all of this feel better. How can you not feel the Bills are on the right path when their total Harm rating barely crossed the 10.0 threshold?


Standard and Advanced Metrics

Penalty Counts

Our first chart of the day looks pretty lopsided on the left. The assessed count was pretty average for the Bills, but way under for the Indianapolis Colts. For how many were thrown total though, it’s pretty even with the two teams flanking the league average. The Colts had two more declined than Buffalo, which makes a pretty good difference.

Penalty Yards

These numbers are pretty much strictly a function of the counts. Buffalo was pretty average there, and remain so here. The Colts were roughly half in count, and remain so here. The Bills negated a ten-yard sack (Ed Oliver will get one eventually) and the Colts negated zilch with their assessed flags.

Penalty Harm

Indianapolis Colts

Well this oughta be quick. Andrew Sendejo was called for a rare double whammy on one play, which is kind of neat. Dawson Knox caught a 31-yard pass and the Bills elected to keep the stats.

Jack Doyle’s offensive pass interference was declined as well. The Buffalo defense had caused a loss of four on first down. The Bills choice then was 2nd & 14 or 1st & 20. For the analytics minded, that’s two tries that need to average seven yards apiece versus three tries that need to average 6.7 yards each. The numbers barely favor declining but they do favor declining. The Colts converted the next play, because of course they did.

There’s zero reason to talk about the delay of game, and Quenton Nelson’s holding flag was just the yardage for 1.0 Harm.

Let’s talk about George Odum’s unnecessary roughness flag. Here’s the best angle on it.

I think strictly based on timing this is completely forgivable. Yeah, I said it. My GIF software isn’t perfect for timing but this is less than a quarter-second late and the defender was already in motion. However, factoring in that he lowers the shoulder I’m good with plays like this being called. You should know that the RB Is likely to step out to avoid a big hit and even if he doesn’t, a little nudge will do it. Hits like this risk a flag, elevate the risk for both the RB and the defender, AND put people on the sideline at risk. Because of all that, I like this flag being called.

And now for something completely different. Here’s a rare look at a no-call. I missed the first quarter yesterday and a no-call DPI was brought to my attention. In order for me to speak on that I need to watch it. And if I need to watch it on the replay, I may as well GIF it, right?

I don’t mind the no-call, though there’s definitely a tug (I also wouldn’t mind if it HAD been called). Why don’t I mind it? A couple reasons. The defender doing the tugging had just cut inside Gabriel Davis and was turning to come back and play the route. The contact isn’t incidental, but it’s fringe-incidental if that makes sense.

Also, DPI isn’t any contact. It’s contact plus a restriction that prevents a player from playing the ball. There IS such a restriction, don’t get me wrong. But by the time it happens, the only way Davis can play the ball is through the back of George Odum and that would have been blatant OPI.

The Colts amasses 3.0 Harm throughout the game, which is a stellar day.

Buffalo Bills

I’m gonna avoid talking about a lot of these because this game was already a bummer and most of these were pretty ho-hum. Taron Johnson’s holding call extended a drive and negated the aforementioned sack. Ultimately though this was a drive the Bills’ defense did get a stop on. I also felt this one was ticky-tack in case you’re wondering, making it a bit frustrating that it wiped out a sack. Especially for Oliver who has zero officially this year and two negated.

Let’s focus on personal fouls, starting on Mario Addison’s roughing the passer flag. Note: I have two angles on a slider to make it easier to look at both.

It’s pretty clear Addison hits right to the knee, which is very much prohibited. The question is whether or not he was blocked into Carson Wentz. The arms extending make an argument for it, but I don’t think it’s clear that there was a “push” rather than “arms extending.” When in doubt I generally side with calling it for ones like this.

Now onto Jordan Poyer’s unnecessary roughness.

This isn’t a late hit. Now unnecessary roughness can be called for anything egregious and “unnecessary” to the play. I don’t see anything flagrant about the hit. I don’t like this call at all. One more for the road...

OH NO! I hope Carson Wentz is okay! Efe Obada went for a kill shot and he should be ashamed of his vicious play. I hate this call as much as I hate all the similar ones this year. My dachshunds are more dangerous to health and safety than this hit and they’re pretty much just a trip hazard. At least the league has been consistent, but consistently poor with these.

Buffalo racked up 10.6 Harm, which is their third-best game this year.


Weekly Trackers

The big news this week is Taron Johnson moving up into second! Remember that this is based on cumulative Harm rating, which makes it intriguing that our top spots have so few flags thrown.