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Penalty Recap: Denver Broncos at Buffalo Bills, preseason

Buffalo is in midseason form

As a reminder, this is the light version of the penalty recap for the preseason. We can still have some fun though and the full version should be ready to go for the season opener. For now, let’s have some casual conversation about what went down as the Buffalo Bills hosted the Denver Broncos.

By the Numbers

Our comparison baseline is last year’s regular-season numbers, which were right around six flags and 50 yards assessed per team each game. The two teams combined floated around this average, but of course this sentence is deliberately misconstruing things for dramatic effect.

The Broncos had three flags assessed for 20 yards. The Bills had eight assessed penalties for 68 yards. See? Deliberately misconstrued. This is also a good reminder that penalty rates are often a poor predictor of success in the NFL. On the good news front, it’s also a reduction from Preseason Week 1 for Buffalo.

What Stood Out

Denver Broncos

For the Broncos, you can’t have a ton of pattern detection with only three data points. Well, technically four. Denver had one penalty declined, which brings us to our two semi-interesting facts for Denver.

The declined penalty was their second offsides flag. In a row. On 3rd & 15, Buffalo got a free play and Case Keenum nailed a pass to Khalil Shakir for 25 yards. Even weirder is that Keenum got a pass to Shakir off on BOTH offsides calls. The first was only for a gain of eight and on 3rd & 20 those yards weren’t a big help. It was definitely the right call for head coach Sean McDermott to get the down back for Buffalo.

Aside from that weirdness, there isn’t much to discuss for the Broncos.

Buffalo Bills

Making that sequence even crazier is that Denver’s declined flag was actually the fourth penalty in a row. It all began on 3rd & 5 on the Denver 22. Luke Tenuta had a false start leading to 3rd & 10.

On this critical down, Keenum’s pass to Zack Moss fell incomplete. Also, Cody Ford was called for illegal use of hands. Denver could have had 4th & 10, but gambled on the 3rd & 20 maybe taking Buffalo out of field goal range or something. Instead, they gave them the two free plays mentioned above.

Aside from that, Buffalo still had the more exciting day. It wasn’t just counts either. Defensive pass interference and face mask flags are way more provocative than the false starts and offsides calls the Broncos mostly stuck with.

The pinnacle for the Bills would have to be a Quintin Morris holding call. It wiped out a Devin Singletary touchdown run of three yards on second down. The call wiped out seven points, one down, and three yards. That’s 8.3 Harm for those of you who follow my nonsensical proprietary penalty stat.