Football Zebras
2017 PostseasonWild Card liveblog: Bills at Jaguars

Wild Card liveblog: Bills at Jaguars

2017 AFC Wild Card Playoff

Follow us here for rolling coverage of the calls and rules interpretations of the AFC Wild Card Playoff game from EverBank Field in Jacksonville.

If you have any questions or comments, use the comments section of this post, or tweet us @footballzebras.

Today’s crew is headed by John Hussey.

      Yrs 2017 crew College Occupation
R 35 John Hussey 16   Idaho State sales representative, retail logistics group
U 129 Bill Schuster 18 swing Alfred insurance broker*
DJ 110 Phil McKinnely 16 Vinovich UCLA inventory control
LJ 59 Rusty Baynes 8 Hochuli Auburn-Montgomery general manager, safety services*
FJ 50 Aaron Santi 3 Torbert Southern Oregon middle school principal
SJ 55 Alex Kemp 4 Hochuli Central Michigan insurance agent
BJ 111 Terrence Miles 10 Coleman Arizona State quality control manager*

*indicates full-time official

  • Replay: Mike Wimmer
  • Alternates:
    • Carl Cheffers (R)
    • Dana McKenzie (LJ)
    • John Jenkins (FJ)
Ben Austro Ben Austro January 7, 20186:09 pm

A few loose items from the final minutes of the game:

On the injury to Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor, there was a 10-second runoff due to the Bills being out of timeouts. CBS announcer Tony Romo wondered if this was a “freebie,” but he mixed things up a little. The “fourth timeout” is granted without penalizing the offense 5 yards. If the clock is not stopped for another reason, the 10-second runoff is assessed on the offensive injury getting the fourth timeout. Despite confusion by the broadcast team, that 10 seconds was deducted immediately at the beginning of the injury timeout.

Would the interception review have been a reversal in the regular season?

The post-interception celebration was, shall we say, infraction laden, but any foul that might have been called would only move the kneeldown spot. The ball was thrown over the goalpost by Jalen Ramsey, but the video doesn’t show if the crossbar was touched, which would have been a foul for using the goalpost as a prop. Also, Ramsey removed his helmet and rolled it to a sideline attendant. Technically, this is a foul, but an outgoing substitute is allowed to remove his helmet. Arguably the lawn bowling maneuver could have drawn a flag, even though it is not actually “thrown.” All of that considered, the post-play action went to the end zone, some 50-60 yards away from the dead-ball spot. The officials have specific dead-ball duties, and shouldn’t be trailing this for potential infractions.


Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 7, 20184:41 pm

A slow start to this game ultimately led to a lot of late-game tension between both teams. The action came down to the final few minutes with a lot of rules interpretations and clock applications that were mostly adhered to properly. Two ten-second runoffs were needed within three plays of each other, and Hussey and crew took control so quickly it almost went unnoticed during the broadcast. A lot all happened at once and John Hussey was able to handle the pressure in his first postseason game as a crew chief.

Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 7, 20184:17 pm

Jaguars 10-3, final


  • Bills — 5/52
  • Jaguars — 5/34


  • 2 booth reviews: 2 stands
  • 1 JAX challenge: reversed
Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 7, 20184:14 pm
:32 | 4th qtr. Booth review (2:00) — Interception. Call stands. key
Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 7, 20183:49 pm
6:32 | 4th qtr. Jaguars challenge — Receiver remained in bounds prior to catching the pass. Call reversed: Receiver stepped out of bounds and touched the ball before re-establishing, incomplete pass.

Charles Clay stepped out of bounds with his right foot before catching the pass, and then jumped back in bounds to catch the pass. When a receiver goes out of bounds, either when forced or on his own, he must re-establish himself by touching both feet back in bounds. On this play, Clay caught the pass before he re-established, therefore he is still considered a receiver out of bounds, and once the ball touches a receiver out of bounds, the pass is incomplete. If Clay had re-established, there would have been a foul for illegal touching, which carries a loss of down but no yardage.

Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 7, 20183:36 pm

13:20 | 4th qtr. If the third down spot on LeSean McCoy’s run by down judge Phil McKinnely was reviewed, it would have clearly been reversed to fourth down as opposed to the new set of downs Buffalo was granted. But first down spots are rarely overturned, so the decision by Jacksonville to hold back on throwing the red flag is understandable.

Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 7, 20183:13 pm
:42 | 3rd qtr. Jaguars TD — Ben Koyak 1 yd. pass from Blake Bortles (Josh Lambo kick). JAX 10-3 key
Ben Austro Ben Austro January 7, 20182:56 pm
2:53 | 2nd qtr. JAX — Neutral zone infraction. Yardage results in a first down.

The Bills were able to draw the Jaguars offside on a field goal attempt, giving them the first down. It was a neutral zone infraction, which shut down the snap, as opposed to an offside call that allows the snap to occur.

A neutral-zone infraction is called if the offense reacts to the intrusion into the neutral zone, which did not happen here. It is also an NZI if the defensive player has an unabated (or, as the rules now state, “unimpeded”) path to the quarterback or kicker. Even though Telvin Smith of the Jaguars does retreat to his side of the line, he was already in that unimpeded path, and officials are going to shut down the snap immediately for player safety. The Bills are well aware of this situation, as kicker Dan Carpenter was injured on a hit last year when an NZI should have been called.

There was some confusion on the down, as it was announced as “repeat 4th down.” Jim Nantz emphasized the erroneous announcement, but there seems as if there was a follow-up announcement when it was ascertained that it was a first down, and the announcement was not broadcast.


Cascading errors hit Anderson crew in final seconds of the half

Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 7, 20182:34 pm

Tied 3-3, halftime


  • Bills — 3/32
  • Jaguars — 3/22


  • 1 booth review: stands
Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 7, 20182:31 pm
:02 | 2nd qtr. Jaguars FG — Josh Lambo 44 yd. Tied 3-3 key
Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 7, 20182:28 pm
:51 | 2nd qtr. Booth review (2:00) — Short of the line to gain. Call stands.

On that last review, there is no visible spot with those angles to where you can move the ball to a different place where it was spotted initially.

Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 7, 20182:13 pm
1:49 | 2nd qtr. Bills FG — Stephen Hauschka 31 yd. BUF 3-0 key
Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 7, 20181:22 pm

10:23 | 1st qtr. Bills punt returner Brandon Tate signaled for a fair catch on the last punt, which he fielded off of a bounce, although it was not shown on the broadcast until CBS returned from commercial. By rule, when a kick or punt returner recovers the ball after it strikes the ground, it is dead immediately, but it is not a fair catch.

It is not a foul against the receiving team.

Ben Austro Ben Austro January 7, 20181:04 pm

This is John Hussey’s first postseason game as a referee in his 3rd season as referee (he was playoff ineligible by rule in his first season) and his 16th season overall. This is Hussey’s 10th postseason assignment, including 4 Wild Card Playoffs, 3 Divisional Playoffs, 2 Conference Championships, and Super Bowl XLV.

The prior postseason experience of the rest of the crew, including this game:

  • Schuster (U), 11 games — 3 wild cards, 5 divisionals, 2 conference championships, Super Bowl XLIX
  • McKinnley (DJ), 8 games — 5 wild cards, 3 divisionals
  • Baynes (LJ), 6 games — 2 wild cards, 3 divisionals, Super Bowl 50
  • Santi (FJ), 2 games — 2 wild cards
  • Kemp (SJ), 2 games — 2 wild cards
  • Miles (B), 6 games — 2 wild cards, 2 divisionals, 1 conference championship, Super Bowl XLIX
Ben Austro Ben Austro January 7, 20181:01 pm

Kickoff conditions: 53° ⛅

3 thoughts on “Wild Card liveblog: Bills at Jaguars

  1. How was that hit on Taylor near the end not a PF? He was tackled from the head/neck area. Wasn’t that close to a horse collar tackle?

  2. You’d think driving the QB’s head into the ground, followed up by a second defensive player jumping on him late, would be penalized.

    Of course it was shortly followed by Riveron again proving he has no idea what he’s doing.

  3. So what you’re saying is that had the interception been properly overturned, the Bills should have gotten the ball back with additional penalty yards tacked on from the celebrations?

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