Penalties Contribute to Buffalo Bills Loss

Head Coach Doug Marrone had to be disappointed throughout the day on Sunday as the Buffalo Bills couldn’t seem to get out of their own way. The Bills chalked up 11 penalties for 110 yards. Not only did the penalties hurt the Bills, they also occurred during crucial times throughout the game. The penalties took the momentum away from the team and the fans. The fans at Ralph Wilson Stadium were forced out of the game early as their excitement was quieted down by yellow flags after a majority of Buffalo’s big plays.

(Sean M. Haffey/U-T San Diego)
The Chargers were the better team, but penalties didn’t help the Bills. (Sean M. Haffey/U-T San Diego)

In the first quarter, San Diego was on its first drive and in the red zone. The Buffalo Bills front line came up with a huge stop on a run for a one yard loss. Unfortunately, Brandon Spikes was called for a personal foul for headbutting. The fans were upset and the Chargers were even closer to the end zone. With a quiet crowd and the Bills defense on their heels, Philip Rivers and Eddie Royal ended the drive with a touchdown. The Buffalo Bills had the opportunity to come up with a huge play in the red zone but the penalty put them in a tough spot.

Later in the half, the San Diego Chargers were moving down the field again and were at 3rd and 3. The crowd was loud and energized but Duke Williams was called for a 5 yard holding penalty and resulted in an automatic first down. Three plays later, Preston Brown was beat into the end zone and, trying to stop a touchdown, was called for pass interference. This put Rivers and the Chargers on the goal line. The Bills were lucky to get out of that drive with the Chargers only scoring a field goal, mainly due to their own penalty that pushed them back. Three unnecessary penalties and the Bills were down 10-0.

The offense had their own struggles with penalties that took big chunks of yardage away and took the fans right out of the game. In the first half, C.J. Spiller showed patience and allowed a hole to open up running down the sideline for a 29 yard gain into Chargers territory. Before fans and the team could celebrate, they were heading backwards as tight end, Scott Chandler, was called for holding. The Bills were forced to punt on that drive when they had a field goal in their sights. Later in the second half, wide receiver Robert Woods had a nice grab for 21 yards but it was called back as well for an illegal hand to the face penalty on Spiller. Luckily, Fred Jackson had enough and grinded his way into the end zone six players later with a nice short pass from quarterback EJ Manuel.

It was a disappointing day as the defense looked confused at times and were beat by the better team. On Sunday, the Buffalo Bills found more ways to hurt themselves than stop Philip Rivers and the strong offense of the San Diego Chargers. The Bills defense will need to have a better game this week as they head to Houston. Buffalo will have the opportunity to force some big plays and possible turnovers as they take on Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Texans.