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Bills Today: Officiating chief says MNF refs were in the wrong


Here's the Bills news of note for Nov. 9th.

1 - Officiating chief says MNF refs were in the wrongIt was mishandled from the moment Richard Sherman collided at top speed with Bills kicker Dan Carpenter. Sherman, who was offsides prior to the snap on a field goal at the end of the first half, never stopped on his path to Carpenter violently colliding with him after the kick was away.

Following the collision Carpenter was rolling on the field in pain. Buffalo's athletic trainers and medical staff ran onto the field after the whistle. That's when confusion ensued.

By only calling offsides on Sherman, the penalty was just five yards and Carpenter by rule had to sit out the next play because he was tended to by athletic trainers. Some players from both teams thought the half was over and headed to the locker room. Head referee Walt Anderson had to announce that there was still three seconds on the clock. 

So the Bills then had to spike the ball on first down, so Carpenter could re-enter and kick on the next play. Attempting a 49-yard kick, the Bills field goal unit had to wait a long time while the officials got a kicking ball onto the field.

By the time the ball was set in place for the 49-yard attempt there were four seconds on the play clock. By rule the officials are supposed to signal to reset the play clock to 25 seconds. They didn't.

Buffalo was called for delay of game negating Carpenter's successful 49-yard kick. Moved back five yards, Carpenter's ensuing attempt from 54 yards was no good, wide right, leaving Buffalo down 11 points at the half instead of eight.

Not long after the game the NFL's Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino addressed the mistakes made by Anderson's crew, which cost Buffalo three points.

"Sherman jumped offside and he was unimpeded to the kicker so we shut that (play) down," Blandino said. "The referee didn't think that the contact was severe enough. He felt that players were coming together and he just didn't think it was a foul. We looked at it and it is a foul. It is no different than a defender coming offside and hitting a quarterback after the whistle blew, so it should have been unnecessary roughness." 

As for the delay of game call, Blandino admitted that too was made in error.

"It was definitely more than 40 seconds and there was a conversation on the field between a couple of officials and the umpire was actually over the ball," said Blandino. "Any time the play clock goes down under 20 seconds we want to reset it if we are still over the football. It looked like the play clock had run down probably to five or six seconds so we want to reset the play clock there when the officials are actually conversing and delaying the snap. I think that's what happened there."

So instead of an eight-point game, Seattle was ahead by 11 at the half. When Buffalo scored early in the fourth quarter on a touchdown and subsequent two-point conversion, the game should've been tied. Even when the Seahawks went ahead by six late (31-25), had the Carpenter field goal been properly counted, Buffalo would've had a chance to kick a field goal on fourth down at the end of the game to tie the score and force overtime instead of making a last second attempt at the end zone at the end of regulation.

"Yeah of course," said Bills head coach Rex Ryan when asked if he would've kicked a tying field goal on fourth down had Buffalo's three points before halftime not been taken away. "We had all the momentum. We were outplaying them. That was clear."

It would have been a 32-yard attempt. Instead Buffalo had to score a touchdown to win at the end.

"I'm not really sure what happened," said Taylor of the end of the half debacle. "I will say that the refs were horrible at managing it. They made some horrible calls throughout the game too. It's not a thing where we're blaming the refs, I just think they need to be held accountable for that and we need to get some explanation."

Blandino assured that the whole set of circumstances will be reviewed.

"We are absolutely going to address it," he said. "Anytime you have a sequence like that at any point during the game we want to see what happened and just walk through the steps of where the breakdown was. Regardless of the outcome of the game, we are going to address the situation with our crew."

2 - Players react to Wood's major injuryIt happened early in the fourth quarter on Mike Gillislee's one-yard touchdown run. A Seattle defensive lineman appeared to roll up on center Eric Wood's right leg, pinning it under the Seahawk defender's body. Wood was eventually carted off the field. Rex Ryan delivered the bad news postgame.

"We lost Eric Wood with a broken leg," said Ryan. "That's a huge loss because I think he's the best center in football, but we've got to find ways to overcome it."

"Believe it or not he's probably our most important player on offense to be honest. It's going to hurt, but we do a great job preparing our guys," said LeSean McCoy. "We have a great offensive line. Wood is a hell of a player, so it's hard to lose a guy like him. He has a good spirit and is a good guy to have in the locker room. Good leadership."

"Definitely tough to see him go down," said Tyrod Taylor. "He definitely means a lot to our offense as far as making protection calls and even in our running game. Just a tough loss. We have to use this bye week wisely as far as getting (Ryan) Groy ready to play for the rest of the season. It's definitely tough. We'll keep him in our prayers that he comes back healthy."

Groy stepped in for Wood in the pivot and handled things relatively well, including shotgun snaps. He's been practicing as a backup center/guard for most of the season.

**3 - McCoy, offense back on track

**He missed the bulk of the last two games with a hamstring strain, but LeSean McCoy looked like his old self on Monday night. His trademark burst and elusiveness looked consistent throughout the game as he rushed for 85 yards and averaged four yards per carry against the eighth-ranked run defense.

What helped open things up in the run game, was Buffalo's game plan. Offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn committed to play action on first down knowing the aggressive Seahawks front seven would rush to the line of scrimmage creating open zones for the Bills receivers to exploit underneath.

"We knew that would be big emphasis to stop the run," said McCoy of the Seahawks plan. "That's why we went to play action. We knew it would help us out because the backers got sucked up and it allowed for some over the top routes and crossing routes and it worked out. Guys had some big days today in the air. We've just got to find a way to finish at the end."

Tyrod Taylor hit nine different players for pass plays in the game and deftly avoided pressure to make plays on the move with his arm.

Buffalo converted 12 of their 17 third downs for their highest success rate of the season (71%). They were even successful converting third and shorts, which had been a problem area for their offense. It led to a time of possession advantage of 40:17 to just 19:43 of possession for Seattle.

Most importantly McCoy came through the game no worse for the wear.

"I felt good. I ran well, made some guys miss with the plays I made," he said. "I got a little winded, but that will come with more practice and more games. I felt as an offense we moved the ball up and down the field."

Buffalo had 425 yards of total offense.

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