Penalties nothing new to this organization. This loss is on the players.
The Bills lost a close game to the Philadelphia Eagles today 23-20. Many Bills fans are searching for answers but when it comes down to it, the players lost this game. The game-plan on both sides were pretty solid.
The Bills gave up 248 yards through the air to Sam Bradford and the Eagles. He only threw 1 TD but turned it over one time on 38 attempts. The Bills did a pretty good job versus the Eagles’ offense. Bradford only averaged 6.5 yards per attempt. On the ground it was a committee effort, led by Sproles with 7 carries for 41 yards and 1 TD. Their rushing totals were average as well. They ran the ball 34 times for 116 yards. As much as Rex Ryan has taken heat this year for the performance of the defense, the defense played well enough to win.
The offense had the ball four times in the final stanza and they couldn’t come through with any points. The first drive in the 4th quarter was 7 plays for 18 yards and included 2 penalties. A holding penalty which negated a beautiful 18 yard run by Shady Mccoy, and on 3rd and 3 RG Miller got caught for holding. The play was declined due to the incompletion and the Bills were forced to punt.
Their next drive was 5 plays for 17 yards and that series included a 15 yard face mask penalty by Richie Incognito. The Bills again couldn’t convert and were forced to turn the ball back over to the Eagles.
The third drive of the 4th quarter began with a screen attempt to LeSean Mccoy. The pass was blocked by OLB Graham. Tyrod Taylor took the snap on 2nd down and 10 from his 20 yard line with 3:23 left in the game. No one was open down field so Taylor scrambled up the middle past the markers for a first down. But it would be negated by a holding call by Richie Incognito. He had a rough game versus the Eagles’ Fletcher Cox. Flags at crucial times killed the Bills all day and all year for that matter. The Bills ended up having to punt the ball back to the Eagles.
The defense, came up with the necessary stops late again this week to give the offense the ball. They held the Eagles to a one yard gain on the ground on 1st down then burned a timeout. On second down DeMarco Murray rushed up the middle for 3 yards, the Bills again called a timeout. On 3rd and 6 the Bills defense got a big play by Mario Williams. Williams sacked Bradford for a 15 yards loss. The play was actually a bonehead move by Bradford, because he had the opportunity to throw it away. The Eagles punted the ball back to the Bills on the next play.
The Bills started with phenomenal field position at their 31 yard line and one timeout remaining. The Bills kept the ball on the ground and got the drive started with a 7 yard run up the middle by Mccoy. By the time the Bills got back to the line of scrimmage there was 1:27 left on the clock, Taylor took the snap and fired it to Gragg but it was incomplete. Taylor and the offense had a very manageable 3rd and 3. The Bills converted 6 out of 15 on 3rd down conversions up until that point. The offense lined up for the big play and RT Jordan Mills committed a false start penalty. The penalty pushed the Bills back five yards and totally changed the plays available by the offense. Going from 3rd and 3 to 3rd and 8 really put the pressure on the offense. Taylor took the snap and fired a deep ball to Robert Woods down the near sideline where it was intercepted by Eagles safety Reynolds. It was fairly obvious Taylor was pressing and he tried making a play, but the throw was completely inaccurate. A rare occurrence from one of the least turnover QBs in the league. The turnover and loss pretty much sealed the Bills’ fate of another season without a playoff appearance.
The Bills committed 15 penalties for 101 yards this game. The Eagles had 14 drives for 348 yards (25yds/drive avg). We had 13 for 412 yds (31 yds/drive avg). 100 yards in penalties is an extra drive or two for the offense or it keeps the defense on the field and extra drive or two. It’s unbelievable, and defensive coordinator let the referees know his frustration on the way back to the locker room.
— Joe Buscaglia (@JoeBuscaglia) December 13, 2015
So why did the Bills lose? I think it’s fairly obvious, penalties. For a team as inconsistent on both sides of the ball, you can’t beat yourself. A lot of fans are placing the blame on Rex Ryan, saying his teams are undisciplined and he should be held responsible for those mistakes.
I am not one of those fans, I put the onus on the players. Lets take a look at the penalty situation from the last 3+ years. These are the regular season leaders in accepted penalties from 2012-2015 according to NFLpenalties.com:
The following is from the 2012 regular season:
In 2012 the Bills were just outside the top ten in penalties accepted. The Rex Ryan led Jets were 29th in the league. The teams in green were teams that eventually made the playoffs.
The following is from the 2013 regular season:
In 2013 the Bills were in the top 10.The Rex Ryan led Jets are ranked 10th. The teams in green were teams that eventually made the playoffs.
The following is from the 2014 regular season:
In 2014 the Bills are again in the top 10 in accepted penalties for the year. If you look below, you can see where the Jets stood at the end of the 2014 season….The Rex Ryan led Jets were 17th.Teams in green eventually made the playoffs. So far through 2015 the Bills are again in the top 10.
Look at these statistics from 2012-2015, how can you say that Rex Ryan is the problem? The Bills have had penalty issues the last several years when Ryan wasn’t here. I have said it before, the penalty issues are on the players. Players are not coached to commit personal fouls, holding, offside penalties etc. That is simply the players making mistakes, or just making dumb decisions. Do I think players should be held accountable for continually making the same mistakes? Of course! But as fans we need to stop trying to place the blame for the penalties on the coaches. The coaches have had their bad game-plans, bad challenges and bad calls. But the players are to blame for the lack of heart, execution and continuous penalties that have plagued the team all year. Football is the ultimate team sport, and this “team” were already consistently committing penalties before this staff got here.