Graham leads Seahawks to wild, controversial win over Bills
The Seattle Seahawks held off the Buffalo Bills for a 31-25 NFL win in a wild game at CenturyLink Field on Monday.
Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor threw for 289 yards and a touchdown and ran for 43 yards and a score, but he was sacked twice in the final minute.
While it was a wild game with over 700 yards of total offense, it was another game in Seattle with an officiating controversy.
There were a combined 21 penalties for 190 yards, but it was a penalty that was not called that infuriated Bills coach Rex Ryan.
Trailing 28-17, the Bills (4-5) had driven 40 yards to get in range for a Dan Carpenter field goal before half-time.
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman jumped offside well before the snap on Carpenter's 53-yard attempt with three seconds remaining.
Instead of stopping his rush, knowing that he was offside and a flag had been thrown, Sherman continued toward Carpenter. He reached down to touch the ball and fell into Carpenter's plant knee.
Carpenter went to the turf and a Bills trainer immediately ran onto the field to check on him. However, no penalty was called for roughing, or even running into, the kicker. Ryan said the officials told him they did not think roughing the kicker had occurred.
Because Carpenter received medical attention, by rule, he had to come off the field for at least one play and the Bills were out of timeouts. After a delay and a controversial delay of game penalty, Carpenter missed a 54-yard attempt as time expired in the half.
"It was wrong," Ryan said of the no-call. "It's clear what happened. The guy jumps offsides and roughs our kicker."
The Bills lost starting center Eric Wood early in the fourth quarter when he was carted off the field with an ugly injury that Ryan later said was a broken leg.
THE GRAHAM SHOW
Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham had the three best plays of the night and they were equally impressive. Even as Bills safety Robert Blanton was holding Graham's left arm, Graham caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to tie the game at 14-14.
He made another one-handed touchdown grab before half-time in very similar fashion as Bills cornerback Nickel Robey-Coleman had hold of his left arm.
In between the scores, he hurdled Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore to pick up a first down.
Graham turned in an incredible game with season-high eight catches for 103 yards and the two one-handed touchdown grabs. After tearing his right patellar tendon last November, Graham is having a very good season and is a candidate for comeback player of the year. He now has 38 catches for 545 yards and three touchdowns this season.
He is at his best under the lights and his 12 touchdowns on Monday Night Football are the most among active players.
NFL HAS A PROBLEM
The officiating gaffe is yet another embarrassing incident for the NFL. Sherman has been among those extremely critical of the league's officials. Expect the demand for the NFL to hire full-time officials to grow. Meanwhile, it may have cost the Bills a shot at getting over .500 and helping their playoff chances in the AFC.
Even though the NFL's head of officiating, Dean Blandino said roughing the kicker should have been called before half-time, Sherman had a different explanation of the rules.
"I went to block the kick. I'm not going to let him make a kick," Sherman told ESPN. "When it was called offside, I'm not going to let them have a free play. They didn't blow the whistle, so I played until the whistle was blown.
"I went straight for the ball. I didn't go for the kicker. I slid for the ball. He should have not kicked it. Maybe he wanted to. I went to the ball. When the ball gets tipped on a play, the rule is, if it's tipped, there's no flag."
Sherman said Blandino's in-game tweet does not mean anything because officials have missed "a ton of calls."
Even Ryan conceded the Bills missed other plays, but in a game decided by six points, missing out on three points before half-time meant they needed a touchdown rather than a field goal at the end of regulation.
"It was ridiculous," Ryan said. "From an officiating standpoint, I think they can do a little better than that."