The New England Patriots pulled out a 20-13 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football, but the outcome wasn’t without theatrics—from the officials.
ESPN commentator Mike Tirico ended the game portion of the broadcast with a deserved shot at the zebras.
"What a screwed-up night of plays and officiating this was. Wow." – Mike Tirico
— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurkeNFL) November 24, 2015
After a relatively decent first half, the night turned south for the officials during the third quarter when a referee inadvertently blew a whistle. The Tom Brady-to-Danny Amendola connection could’ve resulted in a 69-yard touchdown but was ruled dead after a 14-yard gain.
The second half continued with some problems, but Buffalo’s final drive was a complete disaster.
Down 20-13, the Bills had slightly less than two minutes to go 84 yards with no timeouts. Tyrod Taylor completed a pass to Robert Woods, who appeared to fight through a couple New England defenders to earn a first down.
Strangely, the replay official decided to take a look at the play. There was no advantage to be gained, and the review disrupted the pace simply to make Buffalo face a 2nd-and-1.
No one gets an advantage with this review. The play clock will stay where it was when stopped. Ref will wind after the review.
— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) November 24, 2015
A handful of snaps later, the Bills needed to convert a 4th-and-6. Taylor hit Sammy Watkins on the sideline, but the hookup was originally ruled incomplete. That too was overturned.
After Rob Ninkovich sacked Taylor, the official in charge of spotting the ball took his time before placing the pigskin on the ground while time was running out on Buffalo. Unfortunately, that wasn’t even the biggest error on the play.
Taylor again found Watkins on the sideline, and the receiver rolled out of bounds with two seconds left. The side judge must have decided Watkins went backwards and therefore could not stop the clock, which was flat-out wrong.
The Bills probably wouldn’t have scored on the prayer from their own 48-yard line, but the referees robbed Buffalo of even having the chance.
Tirico truly nailed it. Monday was a bad night for NFL officials.