Dec 6, 2015; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan argues a call with a referee during the first half against the Houston Texans at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
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Penalties hurt the Buffalo Bills today in a game where they were outclassed by the New England Patriots 41 – 25.
It’s been an issue before for the Buffalo Bills dating back to last season under head coach Rex Ryan but penalties once again really hurt the team this week. When you go up against a roster as talented as the New England Patriots, you cannot afford to give them first downs on stupid penalties.
The Bills committed twelve total penalties on the day which gave the Patriots 84 yards and six first downs. Those six first downs made up more than 26 percent of the Patriots total first downs on the day. When you dig into the situations in which the Bills committed the infractions it really becomes maddening. Let’s walk through each penalty.
In the first quarter on 2nd and 10, the Bills were called for one of the most avoidable penalties there is…Too many men on the field. That set up a second and five and the Patriots ended up getting the first down on the next play.
The Bills next penalty was a holding call on a punt causing Buffalo to start at their own seven-yard line. They ended up punting the ball back to New England allowing them to start with the ball with great field position at their own 45.
One of the most maddening penalties committed today was by Robert Blanton on a 1st and 20 where the Bills had the Patriots in a favorable down and distance situation. Blanton was called for holding which is a five-yard penalty and an automatic first down erasing Buffalo’s advantage. New England would go on to score on that drive making the game 14 -3.
The Bills first penalty of the second quarter involved an illegal formation which erased an 18 yard gain by Reggie Bush on a 2nd and 9 play. On the very next play, Walter Powell committed offensive pass interference backing the Bills up to 2nd and 24. They were unable to get the first down and were forced to punt.
On the final two penalties in the 1st half, Eric Wood was called for holding, the first of which negated a ten yard rushing first down by Mike Gillislee.
On a key third down and five in the third quarter, the Bills again were called for a sloppy penalty of too many men on the field giving the Patriots a first down deep in Buffalo territory.
On the next set of downs, Nickell Robey-Coleman was called for unnecessary roughness on 3rd and three extending the Patriots gain on the play which already went for a first down.
On the same drive as the previously two penalties, Stephon Gilmore was called for holding on second and goal from Buffalo’s three-yard line setting up a first and goal at the one. That drive was capped off by a one-yard touchdown run by LeGarrette Blount.
At this point, the game was already out of hand but Shaq Lawson was called for a roughing the passer penalty clearly hitting Tom Brady well after he threw the ball on 3rd and 7 giving them yet again another first down.
The last penalty the Bills committed on the day was another holding penalty on 3rd and 12 by Stephon Gilmore which resulted in an automatic first down for the Patriots.
As you can see, not only were some of these penalties stupid formation penalties but others came at the least opportune times on 3rd downs or when the Patriots had long distances to convert first downs. The Bills really shot themselves in the foot against New England with their penalties this week and if they plan on competing with the top teams in the league these mistakes cannot continue.