By Tim Graham
Chan Gailey already had commented on what he thought were five false starts his Buffalo Bills committed in Thursday night's 7-6 preseason loss to the Washington Redskins.
Gailey looked like he'd need a bowl of Rolaids swimming in Milk of Magnesia for breakfast this morning.
"It looked ugly. It felt ugly. It was ugly," Gailey said.
Then I informed him the Bills actually had eight false starts.
"Is that how many it was?" Gailey said, a pained look on his face.
"Gol-ly," he sighed, emphasizing each syllable.
The Bills managed three false starts in a four-play span in the second quarter.
Gailey fell on his sword. He didn't call out young players. He didn't blame the replacement refs. He certainly couldn't use crowd noise as an excuse, with only 51,521 fans at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
"That penalty is my fault," Gailey said. "I've got to get them disciplined. That's just lack of discipline. That's my responsibility, the discipline on this football team."
The Bills had an astounding 14 penalties for 134 yards. Three more fouls were declined. An illegal formation wiped out a Stevie Johnson touchdown reception in the first quarter.
Thursday night's accepted penalties were equal to 16 percent of the Bills' penalties and 18 percent of their penalty yardage for all of last season.
A source of pride for Gailey last year, only four teams were flagged fewer times than the Bills. They averaged 5.4 penalties for 46.4 yards per game.
Thursday night was a yellow debacle. In addition to the Bills' eight false starts, they were called for holding six times (four accepted), facemask once, illegal formation once and offside once (declined).