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Buffalo Bills 2022 penalty year in review: Most Wanted

This season’s winner beat incredible odds; plus, a brief penalty recap from last weekend’s loss to the Bengals

Tennessee Titans v Buffalo Bills Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

It always seems to come so suddenly. One day you’re doing Buffalo Bills game recaps, the next you’re doing year-in-review content. We all love penalty data though, right? Of course we do. I didn’t do a game recap for the Divisional Round loss to the Cincinnati Bengals so I’ll wrap that up in this article real quick (it was a bummer). From there let’s focus on the final Most Wanted list. Coming soon, we’ll put a bow on the penalty season with some trend data. If there’s something you want to see included, feel free to comment here and I’ll see if I can fit it into the trend piece.

Brief Divisional Round Recap

Woof. Buffalo had 11 flags to Cincinnati’s two. Buffalo had 10.3 Harm to Cincy’s 0.9 Harm. Both of the Bengals flags were false starts (BOOOOOORING!). For some reason, Buffalo decided to have three offside flags, an encroachment, and a too-many-men-on-the-field flag. That screams “JITTERS” to me. Further proof that things were just never settled.

Simply put, it was a messy game. The charts (which auto-generate when I add the data) are aggravating to look at. Just an ugly loss by every measurement I’ve personally used. Maybe the Most Wanted will be more fun.

The Most Wanted!

By Harm

This is...pretty great. Tight end Tommy Sweeney jumped to the top of the leaderboard after the Bills visited the New England Patriots on December 1. It was his first penalty. It was his last penalty. The alpha and the omega. Sweeney wiped out a 41-yard touchdown that landed at 13.1 Harm. Despite two players hitting double digits on penalties thrown their way this year, no one was able to catch up to Sweeney on Harm. That’s just fantastic from a data nerd standpoint.

Offensive linemen Dion Dawkins, Spencer Brown, and Rodger Saffold all made the top ten this year. It’s routine for offensive linemen to make the cut with false starts and offensive holding very common calls. We’ll get to penalties by type in the next article, as an aside.

It’s also common for defensive backs to top the list and you can see that the entire rest of the list is made up of defensive backs. Tre’Davious White in particular had a really good push to the top despite missing a large chunk of the season.

That brings us back to Tommy Sweeney. You may not know this, but Tommy Sweeney is neither an offensive lineman nor a defensive back. For such a spectacular showing on my made-up stat that no one else uses, I award Tommy Sweeney the highest of honors. I’ll make him his choice of Wingin’ It items assuming he ever:

  1. Reads this;
  2. Knows what the hell I’m talking about;
  3. Cares enough to respond and take me up on the offer.

Personally, I’m very optimistic about this.

By Count and Yards

For anyone who has followed this for any period of time, you know I love catering to my core audience. First off, thank you fellow nerds for embracing such a niche topic and helping keep this thing going for so long. Most content creators do it so they can help steer the narrative on their favorite teams and for some reason I felt this direction needed to be explored. A whole lot more of you than I would have ever expected have come along for the ride and that’s more fantastic than Tommy Sweeney crushing the Harm scale with a single penalty.

On to my second point. You all know I love giving you a sortable table to play around with at year’s end. I’ll add some quick-hit thoughts on counts and yards, but feel free to mess around with the big table at the end. Thanks again everyone!

  • When it comes to counts, it plays out pretty much as expected. Dawkins, Saffold, and Brown are your top three. Then you have five defensive backs, one blip (see next bullet), and offensive lineman Ryan Bates. Technically wide receiver Stefon Diggs, center Mitch Morse, and edge rusher Von Miller are tied with Bates in count to create a top 13.
  • The “N/A” players made it into the top ten for counts. That’s usually stuff like too many men on the field, etc. It’s not uncommon for there to be a few of these a year, so this isn’t really an anomaly.
  • More specifically, you all know I don’t love top 10 lists in many scenarios. In our penalty counts we hit as low as four penalties, which is a four-way tie. Four flags in an entire season does not equal a big deal.
  • For yards, there’s not much shakeup. The “N/A” falls off the top ten as those tend to be minor procedural deals. Wide receiver Gabe Davis sneaks onto the list and there’s some other assorted shuffling.

Now on to the sortable table!

2022 Most Wanted

Player Sum of Harm Rating Count of Penalty Sum of Penalty Yardage
Player Sum of Harm Rating Count of Penalty Sum of Penalty Yardage
D. Dawkins 11.9 12 55
R. Saffold 8.9 10 47
S. Brown 9.6 7 45
T. White 9.1 5 44
T. Johnson 7.4 5 44
D. Hamlin 6.3 2 43
D. Jackson 4.8 5 40
C. Benford 6 5 39
G. Davis 4.7 3 35
R. Bates 4.8 4 25
Q. Morris 5.2 3 24
S. Neal 5.2 6 20
S. Diggs 3 4 20
V. Miller 2.1 4 20
M. Milano 3 2 20
J. Cook 2.7 2 20
D. Quessenberry 2 2 20
K. Elam 4.2 3 17
J. Johnson 2.7 3 17
N/A 2.9 5 15
G. Rousseau 2.5 2 15
C. Lewis 5.5 1 15
J. Allen 1.5 1 15
M. Morse 1 4 10
G. Van Roten 1 3 10
T. Dodson 1.6 2 10
T. Sweeney 13.1 1 10
R. Gilliam 2.3 1 10
S. Lawson 0.8 3 8
T. Settle 3.7 2 8
T. Jones 1.2 1 7
K. Jonathan 1 1 6
J. Phillips 0.5 3 5
D. Jones 0.5 2 5
C. Basham 1.5 1 5
E. Oliver 1.1 1 5
D. Knox 0.5 1 5
R. Ferguson 0.5 1 5
J. Phillps 0.5 1 5
C. Brewer 0.5 1 5
B. Basham 0.5 1 5
T. Matakevich 0.3 1 3
T. Edmunds 0 1 0
A. Epenesa 0 1 0