We are now seven weeks into the season, and the Bills are still leading the league in penalties, a problem which has become an epidemic on this team. Every time a flag flies, I just assume the penalty is going to be on Buffalo, because most of the time, it is. The Bills are not a good enough team to hurt themselves, but every game they repeatedly have thus far.
So far in the season Buffalo has 72 penalties, accounting for 670 yards! The next closest team is Tampa Bay, they have had just 533 yards in penalties, not even close to the Bills. The league average is just 48 penalties for about 407 yards, which includes the Bills who raise those numbers significantly. This team beats themselves every week with penalties.
The Bills have accumulated 17 special teams penalties this season, leading the league. The offense is already in a hole because of injuries every week, the penalties on special teams puts them in an even bigger hole with bad field position. This week was no different, with two more penalties on special teams hurting field position. That doesn’t include a personal foul after the interception return for a touchdown forcing the Bills to kickoff from the 20 yard line, rather then the 35.
Just like every week, not all of the Buffalo penalties should have been called, but that is wha happens when you lead the league in penalties. The reputation as a team with poor discipline quickly spreads throughout the league and other teams and the officials take advantage. Some of the reputation calls as I like to refer to them changed the game for the Bills this week, and its going to continue until the Bills make changes.
The defensive pass interference call on Nickell Robey on the Jaguars game-winning drive was the worst call I have seen in a game yet this year, and it came at a crucial time. This is not the reason why the Bills lost the game, but without this call they probably win. Watching the play live and on many replays there was zero contact with the receiver by Robey, but officials saw different. You can bet that it creeps into officials’ minds on plays like these that the Bills are the most penalized team in the NFL.
Robey is certainly not at fault on this play, but rather the entire Bills team that created the reputation they have as the league most penalized team. It is inexcusable for officials to call penalties on the Bills due to their reputation but it happens. These officials should not see the game with a biased filter because of a team’s past, but they always have and always will. The NFL is not going to change, so the Bills must by staying discipline.