NFL: officials erred on Bills final play against Pats
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Coach Rex Ryan took the diplomatic approach.
The Buffalo coach was told the NFL acknowledged the Bills should have had the chance to run at least one more play in their loss to New England on Monday night.
''Sometimes mistakes do happen,'' Ryan said Wednesday. ''Your reaction at the time may be different, but it's a human element still in this game.''
Ryan's comments came in response to NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino ruling officials made the wrong call in allowing the final 2 seconds to run off the clock.
Appearing on NFL Network on Tuesday night, Blandino said head linesman Ed Walker should have stopped the clock when Bills receiver Sammy Watkins rolled backward out of bounds without being touched at midfield.
Instead, Walker ruled Watkins had given himself up inbounds to end the Patriots' 20-13 victory.
''You certainly want to give that player the opportunity to get out of bounds, especially inside two minutes,'' Blandino said. ''And really, that's what should have happened.''
The Bills were unable to stop the clock because they were out of timeouts.
Ryan said he was initially upset by the call but, in retrospect, noted the Bills made mistakes, too.
He credited the officials for making the right call when the Bills scrambled to make substitutions before New England's James White scored on a 6-yard run midway through the third quarter. Ryan said he was attempting to switch his lineup after seeing New England tight end Scott Chandler running on to the field. Chandler, however, never crossed the numbers and veered back to the sideline before the ball was snapped.
The Bills were called offside because they were still in the midst of substituting players.
Ryan initially thought the Patriots should have been flagged before learning they followed the rule.
''The officials were absolutely right on that,'' Ryan said. ''I thought they were wrong initially.''
It was a mistake-filled game for the officials.
Early in the third quarter, an errant whistle nearly negated New England quarterback Tom Brady's 14-yard pass to Danny Amendola up the right sideline. The completion was allowed to stand even though the whistle blew while the ball was in the air. Officials then ruled the play was dead at the spot Amendola made the catch.
Though the early whistle was unfortunate, Blandino said the officials made the right calls on the play.
Ryan was also penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct for interfering with officials because he was ruled to be standing too close to the playing field.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL