The infractions that drew yellow flags in Buffalo's home loss to the Giants Sunday set the offense back, handed extra offensive plays to New York and took two touchdowns off the board for the Bills. A season-high 17 penalties proved crippling for Buffalo prompting the team's veterans to formulate plans to rectify what is now a recurring issue.
"It's embarrassing. It's embarrassing," said Corey Graham. "To go out there and get all those penalties, one after another, dumb penalties, situations where you just have to shut up sometimes. It's one of those situations where we can't afford to do it. We can't spot teams all those yards. We have to be more disciplined. It's very disappointing."
"It's definitely something we have to address," said Tyrod Taylor. "As a team we know to be the best team that we want to be we definitely have to eliminate those penalties. It cost us some yards and it's something we have to address moving forward."
"We've done that twice where we've really put ourselves in some bad positions with penalties this year, and it's got to stop now," said Eric Wood.
Buffalo now has 47 penalties in their first four games with 14 of them being of the personal foul variety. The offense and defense have logged 18 apiece with special teams committing 10. Rex Ryan's unsportsmanlike conduct bench penalty in Week 2 is the other.
So how do the players plan to address the problem?
Taylor has said the team has talked about cutting back on the penalties internally, but to this point the results have not improved.
"It's just something that we need to get on top of now, sooner than later," he said.
One major reason why is players believe after just four games that Buffalo has already established a reputation as a team that will partake in extracurricular activity after the play be it physical or verbal.
"When you're a team that's known to push the edge, you tend to get a lot more of those penalties, so the referees are a lot faster to throw the flag on us, because they know us," said Corey Graham. "We're going to play tough. We're going to play physical. When you do it—it's a chance you're going to get more penalties."
As Williams sees it the only way to fix it is to remove yourself from a heated situation when it happens on the field.
"You have to just be able to walk away," he said. "The bad thing is, the reputation is out. There's different things, whether it be from the other team knowing, so they can goad you into a couple of things, and you have to be able to move away from that. And the officials are looking for certain things, too. We just have to be choir boys."
Williams and Wood along with Graham and Taylor are planning to address the issue head on with the players. They realize if they don't they stand a good chance of looking at a lot more losses in games they should win.
"It definitely has to come from the leaders," said Taylor. "A couple of us guys have already talked about addressing it and it's definitely something we have to bring up going into next week. Just talking to the players and stressing the importance of the yardage that we lose and just playing smart football. We've got to eliminate turnovers and penalties. You've got to play smart to win in this league."