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Penalty recap: Buffalo Bills at New Orleans Saints

Sounds like the Bills listened to me

In case you missed it due to the holiday I wrote a thing comparing a lot of penalty data across the last decade of Bills teams. This was spurred by many of you pondering if this year’s squad was worse off than usual (in some measures the answer was “yes”). In that article I casually mentioned a couple times that the Bills had a shot to lower their per-game rates on penalty metrics for the remainder of the year. I think they listened (mostly). Let’s dive in!


Standard and Advanced Metrics

Penalty Counts

The Bills cut penalties to roughly half their usual rate in Week 12, falling well below league averages as well. The Saints matched the Bills and even did them one better when it comes to flags thrown.

Penalty Yards

It’s pretty much the same story with yards as the Bills fall well under league average and just over half their usual rate. And once again, New Orleans is still ahead by a little bit. That gap widens when we add negated/impacted yardage. Buffalo negated seven yards on one play and the Saints had zero penalties that impacted yardage beyond the assessed.

Penalty Harm

New Orleans Saints

There’s no point in reviewing false starts so that leaves us with two. The offside on Cameron Jordan was also pretty straightforward so that leaves us with just one.

Marshon Lattimore’s DPI is right here for your viewing pleasure.

I could probably write a pretty thorough research paper on why this is a flag. I don’t think there’s any controversy here. Moving on.

The Saints had a total harm rating of 3.4, which is actually still higher than the Indianapolis Colts had, but still a really clean game.

Buffalo Bills

Oh no. To be honest, I absolutely love this chart. Look how ludicrous this is. May as well talk about all of these.

The offside call on Jerry Hughes was the declined one as the Saints gained seven yards and a first down on their own.

The holding call on Dion Dawkins was the play where he stretched the dude’s jersey like mozzarella on a cartoon pizza. No controversy there and it was assessed yards only.

Let’s look at the flag on Ed Oliver.

This one is pretty clear cut. You can see Trevor Siemian’s helmet twist on impact. There’s no denying Oliver made forceful contact to the head and neck area. I pointed out the pass being complete as it explains the Harm rating. This was tacked on after the play and was assessed yards only.

The delay of game was Buffalo trying to draw New Orleans offside. It didn’t work.

Ike Boettger’s ineligible-man-downfield flag was not only warranted but thoroughly covered on the broadcast. The Harm rating is through the roof as it negated a Dawson Knox touchdown. Plus a potential first down. Plus a potential seven-yard gain. In addition to the five assessed yards. That’s 7.0 + 1.0 + 0.7 + 0.5 for 9.2 Harm. And then Josh Allen threw his first ever red-zone interception so Ike Boettger reeeeeeaaaaaally messed up. (Or maybe it was the running back who went the wrong way on the screen option.)

The Bills ended with 12.2 Harm, which is better than their season average, but not by much. Thanks Ike Boettger.


Weekly Trackers

We have a new player in first place as Dion Dawkins steadily climbed the board, taking the top spot ahead of Andre Smith. Also of note, Ike Boettger leaps into the top ten pretty much solely because of the one flag discussed above.