Week 9: Bills at Seahawks (video)
With 3 seconds remaining in the first half on Monday night in Seattle, what appeared to be a routine end-of-half field goal became anything but. After the discussions revolving around Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner’s leaping tactics a few weeks ago, this time it was teammate Richard Sherman who started the chaos tonight. Sherman jumped offside, and as the play was being blown dead he plowed into Bills kicker Dan Carpenter. The whistle being late could excuse minor contact, but a major hit to a kicker’s plant leg should not be ignored.
It is important to note that this cannot be a roughing-the-kicker foul, because we do not have a legal snap. Therefore, the provision of touching the ball negating the contact does not apply, either. This may only be penalized under the general unnecessary roughness categories.
In a postgame interview with a pool reporter, referee Walt Anderson, who has primary duties keying the kicker, said about the lack of a flag, “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.”
Although Sherman should have been hit with an unnecessary roughness foul, he was only called for being offside. Senior vice-president of officiating Dean Blandino confirmed the error shortly after the play.
At the end of the half in #BUFvsSEA its unnecessary roughness for hitting the kicker. Foul means he can stay in the game.
— Dean Blandino (@DeanBlandino) November 8, 2016
Carpenter was hurt on the play, and because the roughness foul was not called Carpenter had to sit out for a play. The Bills were also charged a timeout for the injury. Because they were out of timeouts, the Bills were charged with an excess timeout, although there is no penalty for the first excess timeout. The Bills spiked that ball for Carpenter’s “bench” play, and set up for another field goal.
The craziness, however, was not over.
The play clock was correctly set to 40 seconds, but the Bills were called for delay of game after umpire Butch Hannah held the snap late in the play clock. The reason is not clear, as there is no substitution issue, but it might have been due to spotting the designated kicking ball for the field goal attempt.
The flag was thrown by the back judge several seconds after the clock expired. The only possible explanation is that the back judge held the clock for the minimum 10 seconds after the umpire came off the ball, although the clock really should have been reset to 25 seconds.
Anderson also admitted that he was unaware of the play clock winding down and should have given the Bills a fresh 25.
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 substitutes 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.
After all that, Carpenter missed the kick and the half ended.
Anderson generally runs a tight ship but these are major crew errors, especially in a nationally televised Monday night game. By missing the roughness penalty on Sherman, Anderson caused the Bills to have to run an extra play, and cost the Bills several yards in field position which eventually led to a missed field goal.
This post was edited by Ben Austro to add postgame comments.
Pool interview with referee Walt Anderson
Q: (On the sequence of the play at the end of the first half, on why the play wasn’t blown dead for unabated to the kicker.)
Anderson: It was. We were blowing it dead for unabated to the kicker, that is what the foul was.
Q: (On why there was no roughing foul for hitting the kicker.)
Anderson: 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.
Q: (On the sequence of the trainer coming on the field.)
Anderson: With the trainer coming on, and Buffalo out of timeouts, we end up having an injury time out. Even though they were out of time outs, it counts as a fourth time out. There is no penalty assessed, unless you get to the fifth one, for that, but it does require him to go out for one play.
Q: (On whether that applies to any player at any time if a trainer comes out.)
Q: (On standing over the ball until 3 or 4 seconds left on the play clock.)
Anderson: 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 substitutes 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.
Q: (On how he determines whether it is roughing a kicker after an unabated situation.)
Anderson: We didn’t end up having a kick, so one of the things we’re just looking for is does the player have a chance to realize that we’re shutting the play down from that standpoint and whether or not he has an opportunity to avoid any type of contact once he realizes that we’re getting the play shut down. I know it was loud out there for everybody. That’s probably what took us a little bit of time to get everything shut down. But that’s what we’re looking at. Does the contact rise to the level where we feel like it was clearly avoidable, and rose to the level of a personal foul.
Q: (On whether he determined that Sherman couldn’t have told that the play was blown dead.)
Anderson: Well, that’s just what it looked like to me.