Refs Dominate Bills vs. Patriots


Before I start bashing the terrible officiating let me start by saying it is not the reason Buffalo lost, it was one of the reasons, but not the only one. There were plenty of chances for the Bills to win this game that they did not cash in. However; the officiating made it really hard to enjoy watching this game.

It should be expected that every time you play in New England there will be no favors from the officials, the NFL, or even the headsets which seem to fail every team, including the Bills in Foxboro. It is clear that any small advantage the Patriots can get, within the rules or not, they are going to try to use.

I was shocked that the officials, to their credit, didn’t throw any flags on Buffalo for the clean hits on Brady, including Nigel Bradham’s which was legal. However, if Brady was being hit the way Tyrod Taylor was there certainly would have been a few flags. All the hits on Taylor were legal as well, but Brady gets those calls.

Let’s start with the ridiculous too many men on the field call which was declined due to a Patriots touchdown. How do the officials miss a Patriots player running on the field to fake a substitution, then running off the field once the Bills tried to match up. The official should have stood over the ball and given Buffalo every chance to sub, since the Patriots had brought someone new on the field. Classic cheap move by Belichick that completely fooled the officials.

Now on to the real gaffes that completely overshadowed what could have been a great game. We get you accidentally blew the whistle, mistakes happen. That doesn’t mean you reward the Patriots for your mistake just because of who they are. The rule is wherever the ball is at the time of the whistle, that is where the play ends. The ball was in midair when that happened, meaning no one had possession and the down would be replayed.

Instead, because its New England, the officials gave them the catch, which did not happen until after the whistle, and a 14 yard gain. As for everyone saying it prevented a touchdown, Amendola was still 45 yards from the end zone. Very unlikely he scores, and who knows what happens if every Bills player doesn’t stop for the whistle. Weird how the whistle came right as Brady was about to get hit.

To make matters worse Gene Steratore had the audacity to give the Buffalo sideline an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, making the play that never actually happened a 29 yard gain. Rex Ryan didn’t screw up the play, you did, so don’t be mad at him when he wants an explanation that you can’t give him because frankly, no official knew what was happening. Bill Belichick never gets penalized for asking for an explanation, but Rex Ryan does. Tom Brady is basically in the officials huddle before every call, but he is never penalized.

Now for the worst play of the night, how is Sammy Watkins not out of bounds? The Bills probably don’t convert a hail mary but they deserved the chance. The play before was an obvious catch that was embarrassingly called incomplete on the field, then overturned. Watkins is clearly out of bounds with two seconds left, but the ref somehow saw it different.

The explanation after the game is that Watkins “gave himself up” like a quarterback would when he slides. Any football fan with common sense could tell you he was trying to get out of bounds, no reason to give himself up. However, for some reason the paid professional official thought otherwise. The Bills were robbed of the final play.

Good officials are the ones you don’t notice when watching a game, this officiating crew was the exact opposite. I want to watch the game, not an explanation of the game after a five minute review, then two minute official’s huddle. There is no excuse for what took place in Monday’s game, and something has to be done. The Bills ultimately should have won the game anyways, but these refs made it hard on both teams, and the fans. The NFL needs to solve its officiating problem before fans are turned off because the refs have more time on tv then the actual game.