The Bills were nearing field-goal range in overtime to attempt a game-winner. Josh Allen scrambled for 4 yards to the Houston 38 on third-and-nine, which would have given Sean McDermott a big decision: Go for it, give Stephen Hauschka a chance for a long field goal or punt.
But officials called rookie right tackle Cody Ford for a blindside block.
The 15-yard penalty backed up the Bills to their own 43. Allen threw incomplete; the Bills punted; and Buffalo never saw the ball again.
But rules officials from NBC and Fox disagreed with the call.
“The player is blocking toward his own end line, but the very subjective question would be does he make forcible contact with the shoulder?” NBC rules analyst Terry McAulay, a former NFL referee, tweeted. “Based on what I’ve seen called and not called this year I would have to say it is not.”
Mike Pereira, the NFL’s former supervisor of officials, also questioned the penalty.
“I think the call is incorrect,” the Fox rules analyst tweeted. “He doesn’t lead with his shoulder or head. He pushes him. It is a bad rule.”
The league expanded the blindside block rule for 2019.