The Buffalo Bills lost a chance at three points in their Week 9 game against the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night thanks to a bizarre sequence at the end of the first half.
With three seconds left in the second quarter and the ball on the Seahawks' 35-yard line, the Bills lined up to attempt a field goal. Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman jumped offsides and made hard contact with kicker Dan Carpenter.
The officials called an offside penalty but not roughing the kicker. When the Bills attempted a second kick, they were flagged for delay of game. Carpenter eventually missed the 54-yard attempt.
NFL senior vice president of officiating Dean Blandino noted the officials missed a call on the original play:
Dean Blandino @DeanBlandino
At the end of the half in #BUFvsSEA its unnecessary roughness for hitting the kicker. Foul means he can stay in the game.2016-11-8 03:33:23
Per Around the NFL, the delay of game also should not have been called as the clock should have been reset:
Around The NFL @AroundTheNFL
On NFL Network, @DeanBlandino confirms officials should have reset play clock before Bills’ delay of game at end of first half.2016-11-8 05:00:14
Kimberly Jones of NFL Network quoted Blandino on the ruling: "We want to reset the play clock there, when the officials are actually conversing and delaying the snap."
Buffalo eventually lost 31-25 after being stopped deep in opposing territory on its final possession.
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Referee Walt Anderson commented on the decision to not flag Sherman, per Curtis Crabtree of ProFootballTalk: “We were shutting the play down; that would be my call. I just didn’t feel like the actions and the contact, because we were shutting the play down, warranted a foul.”
Anderson also talked about the delay-of-game penalty, per Crabtree:
Any time we end up with the teams coming out, we end up putting a regular ball out, bringing in the kicking ball, we will hold up the play just for the teams to get their substitutions in and then we will move off the ball. If there was that little time left, then that’s probably a mistake on my part in terms of not pumping the play clock back up. But, I was not aware that it was that far into the play clock.
On Tuesday, during an appearance on 710 ESPN Seattle, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll spoke about the play, saying Carpenter was acting more hurt than he was.
"He hams it up a little bit too, which makes it bad," Carroll said, according to Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com, adding that Sherman should have been flagged for an unnecessary roughness penalty, but noted the referees should have blown the play dead.
Sherman, a three-time All-Pro who grabbed his 29th career interception in Monday's game, got into a verbal spat with Ryan, who took offense to the cornerback's antics afterward.
"He came over and was mean mugging," Ryan told reporters. "I think I said, 'You're too good of a player to act like an [ass].'"