It’s time to stop blaming the officials


We get it. The league has been riddled with terrible calls, inconsistent plays and things that just should not happen in a professional sports league. I get it. It’s bad. But it is time to stop blaming the officials for every problem that goes on in Bills games because chances are, there is another play either during the drive or during the game that causes problems for Buffalo other than the guys in black and white throwing or not throwing a flag.

Ed Hochuli, in my book, did a very good job today calling the game as it was supposed to be called. Heck, he even did the Bills a favor or two when it comes to challenged calls (I’m sorry, but on replay it looked like that McKelvin interception should have been overturned). Watkins’ catch was very close, but the refs got the call correct when they could have gotten it dead wrong.

The two plays in Buffalo’s game today that were missed were crucial but avoidable. The first of which came late in the first half when Riley Cooper dove out of bounds to save Philadelphia eight seconds of clock. With no timeouts, this play was crucial because it allowed Caleb Sturgis to kick a half-ending field goal.

First off, yes. This is the same play that plagued Sammy Watkins against New England on the Monday before Thanksgiving. Yes, it was called incorrectly then. But I’m sorry Bills fans, the odds that Buffalo would’ve scored on a 55-yard Hail Mary are slim to none. The Packers did it, but that happens like once every other season. Should they have gotten a chance to? Sure. But it doesn’t mean that the game was lost at that particular moment.

Anyways, Cooper went to the ground and crawled out of bounds, surrendering himself to stop the clock. This is a legal play and if Leodis McKelvin even lays a finger on Cooper as he goes to the ground, he is down by contact in the field of play and the Eagles do not get another play off because the clock had run to four seconds before Cooper had even gotten up. McKelvin was lazy and gave up on the play, allowing the receiver to scamper out of bounds.

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The second play was late in the game when Zach Ertz busted off a 41-yard gain late in the fourth quarter to set up Sturgis for the game-winning field goal. There was an illegal pick set on a Bills’ DB (I think it was either Corey Graham or Bacarri Rambo). Either way, the flag should have been thrown and a 10-yard penalty assessed on the Eagles. That is about as blatant as offensive pass interference comes.

But, if McKelvin makes a tackle (sensing a theme?), Ertz is down at the Buffalo 40 yard line after a gain of 20 yards. After that, who knows what the defense would have done. They had played pretty well up until that point, so who knows what they would have been able to accomplish.

Point being, as a Bills fan, I probably speak for a lot of people and am sick and tired of Bills fans/coaches/players blaming the officials for losses. There is an accountability when it comes to playing this sport and if you don’t accept it, you do not deserve to be in this league.

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15 penalties is a lot for one team in one game. But sadly, that has almost become the norm for a Buffalo team who just shot themselves in the foot on their way out of the playoff race for the 16th consecutive year. That’s right. Fans born in this millennium have not seen their team in a postseason game.

It is time for this team to start taking steps forward and it starts with holding themselves accountable for what’s going on during the game and not sounding like a high schooler coming off the field, talking about how crappy the officials were. This is the National Football League, a league of professionals. It’s time that this team started acting like it.