The NFL published on September 16 a list of all fines from Week 1, which included a missed call that could have changed the outcome of the September 11 season opener, which the Jets won 22-16 in overtime.
League Admits Blown Call in Overtime
In its Saturday announcement, the league handed down a $4,833 fine to Jets linebacker Chazz Surratt for an illegal block on Bills tight end Quintin Morris in overtime. The block took place on rookie Xavier Gipson’s 65-yard punt return touchdown, where Morris was one of the last Bills defenders with a chance to stop Gipson.
Had the penalty been called, the game-winning touchdown would have been negated and the Jets would have been assessed a 15-yard penalty. Though they still would have been close to field-goal range, the Jets would have been pushed back to near the 40-yard line.
The league assessed a number of other fines from the Bills-Jets game, including a $10,927 fine to Bills linebacker Matt Milano for taunting following his second-quarter interception. As the Buffalo News noted, Jets linebacker Quincy Williams was also given a pair of fines.
“Williams’ first fine was in the second quarter on a play in which he wasn’t involved in the tackle. The video shows Williams diving at the knees of Bills left guard Connor McGovern to make sure McGovern is unable to make his block,” the report noted. “Williams’ second fine was in the third quarter when he hit Bills running back James Cook helmet-to-helmet after Cook caught a pass in the right flat.”
Bills Place Blame on Themselves
The Bills didn’t seem to be looking for excuses following the overtime loss to the Jets. Head coach Sean McDermott pointed to the team’s four turnovers — three interceptions and a fumble, all committed by quarterback Josh Allen — as the main factor in the loss.
“We made it pretty hard on ourselves,” McDermott said after the game, via SI.com. “When you turn the ball over four times, it’s hard to win in this league. You’re playing two opponents, the one on the other sideline and yourself, and that’s what we did tonight. That’s not the right formula to win games in the NFL…We beat ourselves.”
McDermott also came under fire for some of his decisions in the loss, a game where the Bills blew a 10-point halftime lead and failed to take advantage of the season-ending injury to quarterback Aaron Rodgers just four plays into the game. Justin DiLoro of USA Today’s Bills Wire noted that the Bills had play-calling that was too conservative and play from Allen that was too risky.
“The clash of aggressive hero ball and cautious coaching ultimately led to the undoing of the Bills in Week 1,” DiLoro wrote. “If this pattern continues, Buffalo may not have to worry about earning a postseason home game. If this is the modus operandi for the Bills 2023 campaign, the unfathomable may occur and Buffalo may not have to worry about the playoffs at all.”