After Further Review: Jets-Bills Officiating

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.

Penalty Count

Bills 5-40 (leading to one Jets first down)
Jets 2-13 (leading to one Bills first down)

Plays where the call was obvious, uncontroversial or not visible on broadcast footage

  • Illegal block in the back on Robert Foster to negate an Isaiah McKenzie first down run on a jet sweep. Looked like a good call, as Maurice Canady hustled well to get out in front of the block and re-direct the runner.
  • Kurt Coleman personal foul to negate a Sam Darnold interception. The Jets were lucky that Coleman did this, but the call was clear as he launched himself helmet-first into Le'Veon Bell's helmet. One complaint: What the hell took the officials so long to announce this?
  • False start on Ryan Bates. This was clear as he jumped back into his pass blocking stance a beat before the snap.
  • Too many men on the field against the Jets. Buffalo rushed to the line on 3rd-and-short and snapped the ball before Quinnen Williams got off the field.
  • Offside against Dean Marlowe. The Jets quick-snapped the ball on 1st-and-goal and the slot receiver was in the neutral zone as the ball was snapped.

Penalties warranting further discussion or explanation

  • Tarell Basham illegal blindside block. Seemed like a harsh call as Basham lit up his man away from the ball but the contact clearly seemed to be to the opposing player's chest.
  • Tommy Sweeney offensive pass interference on Arthur Maulet to negate a first down catch. Maulet slipped as Sweeney pushed off at the top of the route, but that seemed potentially harsh. However, earlier on in the route, Sweeney had shoved Maulet back with two hands which may have been what actually drew the flag and likely would have prevented any challenge from being successful.

Notable no-calls

Again, with a comparatively low penalty count, there were certainly a few things that could have been called.

For example, there could have been a pass interference call on the first Darnold interception. The defensive player didn't get his head turned and seemed to make contact with the receiver before the ball arrived to prevent him from making a play on it.

In addition, on the opening kick-off, although the announcers praised Darryl Johnson for a clean hit, this was a clear helmet-to-helmet hit.

There was also a first down run for the Bills where Neville Hewitt was essentially tackled by an offensive lineman at the second level. Foley Fatukasi also felt he was held on one play, but he also got away with clearly being offside on a play where he exploded into the backfield to blow up a run.

The replay booth had a couple of Jets strip sacks to look at and they upheld one but overturned the other. The one they upheld was clear, but the play where they overturned the fumble, on a Basham hit, was an awful call. The officials ruled that the quarterback's arm was moving forward with control, making it an incomplete forward pass. However, Basham's hit from the back was made before the arm came forward and clearly the quarterback had no control as his arm came forward solely as a result of the hit from behind.

Finally, there was some discussion over whether the dropped pop pass to McKenzie should've constituted a fumble. By the letter of the law, if the ball was dropped directly downwards rather than slightly forwards, then it should indeed constitute a fumble. However, this one could be seen to move slightly forwards. In practice, you'd probably see that called as an incompletion even if it didn't perceptibly move forwards, as is also often the case on a spike to stop the clock.