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Penalty recap: Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Divisional Round won’t take long

Seriously, there weren’t many flags

Don’t worry penalty-data lovers, I’ll have season recaps coming soon. This is only the end of the weekly recaps. Incidentally, there’s no Most Wanted list at the tail end this week, as that’s usually part of the season wrap up. Don’t worry, I’ll discuss why the two flags offset rather than using the 5 vs. 15 rule on the punt play, but there’s not much more than that.


Penalty Counts

As is usual, the playoffs have been featuring fewer flags than the regular season. Both teams had four penalties called, with the difference being in assessed. There was the aforementioned offsetting flags. Kansas City also had two declined.

Penalty Yards

The two teams were pretty even here as well. Buffalo had five more yards assessed than Kansas City. When it comes to true yards, Buffalo negated six to Kansas City’s nine. That mostly closes the gap. Though with this few in the first place the total is pretty much irrelevant, let alone the gap.

Penalty Harm

Kansas City Chiefs

I mean.... what am I supposed to do with this? Charvarius Ward was called for defensive pass interference on a 16-yard catch by Emmanuel Sanders. The Bills kept the catch on the books and declined the flag. Creed Humphrey was similarly called for an ineligible man downfield call that was declined on an incomplete pass. The Bills elected to roll with 2nd & 10 rather than 1st & 15. Personally I love that decision, especially against a dynamic offense like KC’s.

Patrick Mahomes ran for nine yards on 3rd & 8 when Andrew Wylie was called for offensive holding. In addition to the ten assessed yards, it wiped out the nine from Mahomes and the first down for 3.9 Harm—which is their total Harm for the game since it was the only assessed flag.

Now for the fun one. Dorian O’Daniel was called for a low block on a punt. This offset with a flag on Taiwan Jones for running out of bounds. Fans (myself included) wondered why this wasn’t enforced using the “5 vs. 15” rule. Under that rule, the five-yard flag on Team A is dismissed while the 15 yard flag on Team B is enforced. I won’t dive into the specifics of what could have been, but the idea is that would have benefited Buffalo.

I was asked pretty quickly by multiple people why the flags offset and... I had nothing. The 5 vs. 15 is rarely used as is, so the nuances aren’t something I’ve memorized. After looking it up, here it is: 5 vs. 15 enforcement doesn’t apply on downs where there’s a change of possession. Like a punt. I was also asked why KC was able to replay the punt. On double fouls with a change of possession (what we had) this is one of the subclauses: “If Team A fouls during a kickoff, punt, safety kick, fair-catch kick, or field-goal attempt prior to the change of possession, Team B may elect to replay the down at the previous spot.” In other words, because Taiwan Jones ran out of bounds before the returner, it activated this part of the rule.

Buffalo Bills

We’ve already covered the flag on Taiwan Jones and by now you probably know rule 1 on false starts: You don’t talk about false starts. That leaves us with two defensive holding calls.

The one on Dane Jackson was pretty well shown and very unpopular. While Jackson was definitely grabbing jersey, it didn’t look to impact the route very much. I’m not making a GIF of that because I agree with the general reaction live. This one was ticky-tack and swung four points toward Kansas City. On third down, the Bills sacked Patrick Mahomes for six yards. That’s five yards assessed, plus six negated, plus two downs given up for 3.1 Harm.

Levi Wallace’s occurred on first down and was yards only, and I didn’t see anyone all too concerned with it. But it doesn’t feel right not having any GIFs, so let’s see the action that caused Wallace to draw a flag.

Yep. That’ll do it.

The Bills ended the day with 4.1 Harm total, which is basically a draw with Kansas City. In a game this close, pretty much everything was close.


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