This season, we're going to have a post after each game that breaks down some of the controversial decisions from the officiating crew in the game.
Bills 7-55 (leading to two Jets first downs)
Jets 8-67 (leading to two Bills first downs)
Plays where the call was obvious, uncontroversial or not visible on broadcast footage
- Darryl Roberts jumps into the neutral zone; left tackle moves before he can get back
- Trumaine Johnson obvious face mask, albeit away from the ball
- Bills false start
- Bills ineligible man downfield on forward pass
- Bills jumped offside
- Ryan Kalil illegal use of the hands, pushing the helmet back as he repelled a bull rush
- Bills false start
- Roberts obvious pass interference on the winning touchdown; declined anyway
- Bills illegal use of hands; Hughes on Ryan Griffin
Penalties warranting further discussion or explanation
- Taunting on Jon Feliciano: The broadcast wasn't helpful because they were discussing what was going on during and after the tackle, but the penalty actually happened as Feliciano (fairly) lit up Neville Hewitt when the quarterback stepped up, but then appeared to stand over him, drawing the taunting call.
- Holding on Brian Winters: Difficult to tell, but you can see why it was called as Winters appeared to lose leverage and tackle his man to the ground to prevent the tackle. All-22 will be required to be certain but the call appears correct.
- Illegal Block in the Back on Josh Bellamy: The right call and so unnecessary as he basically shoved the defender into the ball carrier anyway as the defender made a good read to get ahead of him before he could block down.
- Roberts defensive hold: This was frustrating as it happened away from the ball and negated a Marcus Maye interception. The call seemed fair though. The receiver initiated contact more than five yards down the field so illegal contact was not in point. However, there was a slight grab from Roberts as he looked to separate at the top of the route and it was before the throw was released so defensive holding applies.
- Roughing the passer on Jordan Phillips: This was arguably harsh. It was called because Phillips hit Sam Darnold low after executing a good pass rush move to release cleanly from Kelechi Osemele's block. However, he seemed to stumble into the hit so was falling involuntarily rather than diving at Darnold's knees.
- Offensive pass interference on Quincy Enunwa: This didn't matter in the end because it negated a touchdown on a drive where the Jets still scored one anyway, but what a weak call. Enunwa ran to the end zone and boxed the defender out while performing the function of making himself an available target. He didn't throw a clean block on a defender trying to get out to Griffin in the flat and Darnold was throwing the ball as he was transitioning from being a receiver to being a blocker. By the letter of the law, maybe Enunwa blocked down the field a split-second before the pass was released, but it didn't affect the play and wasn't significantly clear enough to warrant overturning the call.
(Side note: It remains unclear whether the ineligible receiver being downfield that was discussed on the broadcast is even reviewable. The so-called expert on the broadcast hedged on the issue saying "all reviewable aspects are in play". There has been talk about reviewing how far downfield blockers are on pass plays under the new rules but only within the context of whether eligible receivers were close enough to the line to legally impede a defender with a rub route. As that constitutes offensive pass interference and not ineligible receiver downfield, the conclusion is that that's not a reviewable issue but you have to wonder if the replay booth themselves weren't even sure and called the ticky-tack foul on Enunwa to account for that).
- Defensive holding on Bronson Kaufusi: The first question is how can a defensive lineman get called for a hold? Well, it can apply, for example if a lineman is pulling, the defensive lineman can impede him from doing so by grabbing him. Perhaps more common is when a lineman stunts and another lineman grabs his man to prevent him from being able to slide over and pick it up. This definitely didn't apply on this play though. First conclusion is that they called the wrong number because Kaufusi doesn't do anything that remotely approximates holding. Did they see something wrong with how Quinnen Williams took on Cody Ford, perhaps. If Williams dragged one of the linemen down and a linebacker swept into the backfield to blow up a play, then maybe you've got an example of defensive holding. Doesn't look like it though. Might even be holding on Ford who is clearly the aggressor on the takedown. You be the judge:
- Roughing the passer on Henry Anderson: This was a good call. It was a late hit and he easily could have pulled up.
- 4th down hold on Kelvin Beachum: Irrelevant anyway as the pass was incomplete but was unclear from broadcast footage. Seemed like he moved his feet to stay in front but the official had a good view so presumably Beachum let his hand get outside the shoulder pad.
The big one here is the possible pass interference on the underthrown deep ball to Robby Anderson. Should the Jets have challenged this right before the two minute warning and risked losing their penultimate timeout?
The evidence suggests not. While the ball being underthrown and the defender not looking back for the ball will often lead to such a call, the defender didn't make contact until the ball arrived. He was extremely lucky, but there were no grounds to make a call on that play - and if it had been called on the field, the booth likely would have overturned it.
Other possible no-calls included a possible helmet-to-helmet hit as Siran Neal tackled Jamison Crowder on a short pass, but Crowder was going to ground at the time and Neal didn't appear to use any forcible contact.
There were a few other plays where receivers appealed for a flag down the field or pass rushers looked to have been held for both teams, but nothing too egregious. The Jets may also have been lucky that Anderson's roughing call was the only one they had all day.
The views expressed above are opinion only and you are more than welcome to dispute any of this in the comments.