It could have easily happened again.
Just like when a couple of calls went against Buffalo's defense at a critical time in two other games earlier this season, the Bills were challenged to keep their cool Sunday. Protecting a precarious one-point lead late, Buffalo appeared to have the stop they wanted on a third down pass breakup by Corey Graham who separated Justin Hunter from the football on a pass over the middle with 4:44 left in the game. They were set to come off the field, but the back judge threw the flag.
Unnecessary roughness was the call. Suddenly a stop by the defense on 3rd-and-7 at the Titans 18 was a 1st-and-10 at the Tennessee 33. The Bills defense could've become unhinged as they had against New England in Week 2 and the Giants in Week 4. But they didn't.
It was evident that players were upset, but it wasn't voiced to the officials and no one lashed out in frustration.
"We just tried to stay focused and tried to stick with what we wanted to do, and not give them any big plays and things like that," said Graham. "You'll have ups and downs out there, obviously, some penalties and things that didn't go our way. You just got to hold your composure. You can't lose it. You can't find a way to give them extra yards and when it's all said and done, you have to make plays and win the game."
Three plays later Nickell Robey came through on a 3rd-and-13 when he stopped Delanie Walker for just a two-yard gain on a reception to force the Titans to punt with their offense still on their own side of midfield.
Helping to serve as a reminder to each player to keep their emotions in check was a black and red wristband issued for every player to wear that read – 'YES SIR.' It's served as a directive as to how they were to respond to any questionable calls the officials might make in the game.
"'Yes sir' is just a reminder that even though someone might retaliate on you, even though they do something to you and the refs don't see it and call you for it, just say, 'Yes sir,' and walk away," said Robey. "That's the best thing you can do. For instance, one of our players was getting hot-headed and I just pulled him away. The referee came up to me and said great job that was smart. Thank you for that. Just say, 'Yes sir.'"
One Titans possession earlier the Bills appeared to have another third down stop deep in Tennessee territory, but Stephon Gilmore was flagged for pass interference on a 3rd-and-9 from the Titans six-yard line. Members of Buffalo's defense did not agree with the call, but again nothing verbally was directed at the officials.
"I think the stuff in the past helped us out in this game," said Gilmore. "From the previous games we had a couple of penalties, but I felt like in this game we came together as a defense and said, 'Okay, calm down. Let's make plays on the defensive side.'"
Gilmore went out and did just that. When Buffalo went three-and-out on offense, unable to kill the remaining time on the clock, the defensive series lasted all of one play. Buffalo's top corner peeled off his coverage assignment and picked off Marcus Mariota to effectively end the game.
"The defense we came out there and played through all the adversity," said Robey. "We still had penalties, we still had questionable calls. We still kept playing. We said, 'Today, that isn't going to happen. We're not going to let the crowd get us out of our mojo. We weren't going to let the referees get us out our mojo. We just kept playing football and we came away with a win."