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Penalty Recap: New York Jets at Buffalo Bills, Week 11

Nothing crazy on the night to damper an exciting win

Indianapolis Colts v Buffalo Bills Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills beat the pads out of the New York Jets, and seemed to shake a whole pile of monkeys off their back. So who cares about penalties? Apparently you do since the title of the article was clearly labeled. Thank you by the way! Now let’s talk rules and such.

Standard and Advanced Metrics

Penalty Counts

Look Bills Mafia. This should be comforting. This is the kind of penalty performance we’re used to the last couple years. When the Buffalo Bills were winning a lot. Winning and flags go hand-in-hand apparently. Who am I to argue?

Penalty Yards

The yards are roughly what you’d expect based on the counts. The Bills are a bit elevated on a per-flag basis, but not crazy. Doing the quick math, Buffalo was hit for 9.6 yards per flag — or about an offensive holding call on average. The Jets landed at 7.0 yards per flag — that’s midway between a false start and offensive holding.

Penalty Harm

New York Jets

With only five of these, we may as well talk about them all a bit. Defensive end Bryce Huff’s offside and offensive guard Chris Glaser’s ineligible man downfield don’t need a whole lot of words though. Both came on incomplete passes and were assessed yards only.

Though from an analytics angle, there might be more to the Glaser one. I saw a question pop up on Twitter about this. Sorry Elon, the only “X” I recognize is Speed Racer’s older brother (shhh... it’s a secret). Is it better to accept the penalty and give them 1st & 15, or decline for 2nd & 10? I poked my nose into the conversation there, so figured I may as well put it out here a well.

In my sometimes humble opinion, I would have declined this one. Both situations require the opponent to gain five yards per play to convert. Accepting the flag, though, gives them three chances to make that happen, whereas declining gave them only two. In terms of volatility, limiting one chance limits the opportunity for a big play. Yes that also limits the defense’s chance of a big play by one, but a stop should be equivalent to a big play. It also means (assuming a stop), one less play that your defense is on the field and using up energy.

The illegal contact by cornerback D.J. Reed negated a seven-yard sack of quarterback Josh Allen. It would have doubled the sack count for the Jets, who had trouble bringing Allen down.

And we’re left with cornerback Sauce Gardner. The unnecessary roughness was yards only, and I’ll just say this. In my opinion, I think the refs are usually going to flag any and all attempts at a belly to back suplex. Maybe don’t try that on the field. Wide receiver Stefon Diggs didn’t convert the first down (from second) so the free down elevates the flag to 2.5 Harm.

The illegal contact on Gardner was very similar in that gave up one free down in addition to the yards. Gardner acted surprised by the flag after one of the more egregious grab jobs I’ve seen in a while.

The Jets had a paltry 6.2 Harm, which is well below the bad-day cut-off of 10.0 Harm.

Buffalo Bills

A bunch of these aren’t really worth talking a whole lot about. The offside flag on edge rusher Leonard Floyd was declined, as was one of the holding flags on left tackle Dion Dawkins (oh Dawkins). The other one on Dawkins was assessed yards only. The delay of game on the punt was intentional. False starts like the ones on right guard O’Cyrus Torrence are boring to discuss.

The illegal shift wiped out an 11-yard run by running back Ty Johnson. For fans of the formula, that’s 0.5 Harm for the assessed five yards, and 1.1 Harm for the 11 negated for 1.6 Harm total.

The defensive pass interference on cornerback Rasul Douglas was quite interesting. On 3rd & 8, Douglas’ flag gave up two free downs for 2.0 of that Harm rating. That means the flag gave up seven yards. Yes, even if caught, the Jets hadn’t gained enough for a first down. This isn’t super common with defensive pass interference, but for those of you who don’t like the automatic first down part of the penalty here’s some ammo.

For Dion Dawkins’ third flag, the unnecessary roughness call, the broadcast didn’t really show what that was about. It was yardage only and very much warranted. Let’s check it out.

Yes, that was unnecessary and I can see the roughness part too. Interesting sequence ending with some lighthearted comedy but the flag was for a good reason. Not even the Jets should get away with the ol’ “Look! I have wings” flop.

Earlier in the game, defensive tackle Jordan Phillips was also called for unnecessary roughness, which was also yardage only. Let’s check that one out.

I don’t hate this. He’s sticking up for his teammate, which is a huge plus. That said, the play was dead and what happened to defensive tackle Ed Oliver was more part of the play and not as much extracurricular. Phillips was definitely extracurricular.

Like the Dawkins and Phillips call, the roughing-the-passer on Ed Oliver was 15 assessed yards only as well. We’re GIF happy today, so let’s look at this one too.

That’s pretty textbook stuff. What’s the lesson for today? If you’re flopping all your weight on another player, you may be getting a flag.

The Bills had a bad penalty day with 10.8 total Harm. That said, a bad penalty day does not always mean a bad day.