So here's how things went down late in the first half of Monday night's matchup in Seattle, as the Bills tried to kick a field goal:
Richard Sherman was flagged for offsides, but inexplicably, not for roughing the kicker.
List of players you are allowed to illegally hit with no repercussion: Cam Newton. Kickers. #BUFvsSEA#Seahawkspic.twitter.com/iVKYHV5D4w— John Breech (@johnbreech) November 8, 2016
And because the trainer came on the field to check on kicker Dan Carpenter, who was on the receiving end of Sherman's hit, Carpenter had to miss a play. So with three seconds left, the Bills spiked the ball, allowing Carpenter one last chance. ... except the Bills were then flagged for delay of game.
But there's more! Take a look at the official and the play clock:
The ref still stood over the ball with 4 seconds on the play clock. And they called a delay of game. What a mess. pic.twitter.com/n84OF1IMsr— Ollie Connolly (@OllieConnolly) November 8, 2016
A 5-yard penalty later, Carpenter missed the kick.
The Bills would lose 31-25, but don't worry, Rex Ryan, the officials conceded afterward that they blew the Sherman non-call, the delay-of-game penalty and everything in between.
Here's what referee Walt Anderson said after the game, via NewYorkUpstate.com.
On why there wasn't a roughing-the-kicker call: "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."
Worth noting: NFL head of officials Dean Blandino disagreed and tweeted as much during halftime:
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
On why Carpenter had to leave the field after he was injured by Sherman: "With the trainer coming on, and Buffalo out of timeouts, we ended up having an injury timeout. Even though they were out of timeouts, it counts as a fourth timeout. 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."
On standing over the ball until there was four seconds left on the play clock, and then calling a delay-of-game penalty: "Anytime we end up with the team 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."
Blandino was asked about the delay of game on NFL Network.
"Well it was definitely more than 40 seconds and there was a conversation on the field between a couple of officials and the umpire was actually over the ball," he said. "Any time the play clock goes down under 20 seconds we want to reset it if we are still over the football. It looked like the play clock had run down probably to five or six seconds so we want to reset the play clock there when the officials are actually conversing and delaying the snap. I think that's what happened there."
Good news: Anderson took responsibility for everything going sideways.
Bad news: This isn't anything new; the officials are perpetually at the center of one controversy or another.
Bills coach Rex Ryan called the sequence "absolutely ridiculous," and that's probably being too kind. Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor was slightly less diplomatic (by the way, when "absolutely ridiculous" qualifies as diplomatic, you know things are FUBAR):
#Bills Tyrod Taylor: The refs were horrible during the game and should be held accountable— Josh Reed (@4JoshReed) November 8, 2016
So now what?
"We are absolutely going to address it," Blandino said. "Anytime you have a sequence like that at any point during the game we want to see what happened and just walk through the steps of where the breakdown was. Regardless of the outcome of the game, we are going to address the situation with our crew."
Whether anything changes ... well, that's another matter entirely.