Last night's game between the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots was brutal for everyone to watch. Officiating in the NFL continues to reach to new lows by the week with several mind-boggling calls both ways in a 20-13 Patriots win.
This game will be leaving a bad taste in Buffalo's mouth.
On Tuesday, a source from the NFL Referees Association cited three indefensible errors in the game to the Boston Globe's Ben Volin --- the inadvertent whistle that prevented a possible touchdown pass to Danny Amendola, a James White touchdown run that should've been whistled dead and the final play of the game. Buffalo's Sammy Watkins rolled out of bounds with two seconds left but officials mistakenly let the clock run out.
"Guys are rolling their eyes over that performance,” the source told The Globe. “That was really bad.”
Read the full story here, but here are some highlights.
--- On the inadvertent whistle, the source said officials were looking to "appease both sides" with their ruling of a 14-yard catch and 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The play should've been blown dead because there's a whistle clearly blown before Amendola makes the catch.
New England didn't get its touchdown, but it did get 29 yards that eventually led to a field goal.
--- Officials never should've let the White touchdown play be run because the Patriots were in a "simulated" substitution. Tight end Scott Chandler began running onto the field before retreating to the sideline when Buffalo's Jerry Hughes was late getting onto the field and flagged for offsides.
The officials should've not allowed New England to snap the ball until Buffalo had enough time to get set, per NFL rule 5.2.10.
Beyond this, the play should've have run because Hughes was so deep in the backfield. Those are plays are ruled dead immediately, but officials let it stand.
--- And the Bills should've had time for one final Hail Mary when Watkins got out of bounds with two seconds to go. The Globe's source indicated that head linesman Ed Walker mistakenly applied a college rule instead of a NFL rule. Even though Watkins moved backward, that doesn't mean he gave himself up as a runner. Running sideways or backward is still "advancing" the football in the pros.
It's not like a quarterback sliding before taking a hit.
“In the NFL, the way it’s always been officiated is if a guy gets out of bounds, you give it to him and stop the clock,” the source said. “But he called it like the college rule. I’m not sure he knew the NFL rule.”
So there you have it. A miserable performance by head official Gene Steratore and his seven-man crew.