Skip to primary navigation Skip to main content

Doug Marrone explains failed challenge call against Patriots

By Jay Skurski

One of the unanswered questions from Sunday's game against New England was why Bills coach Doug Marrone used a challenge to dispute a ruling that Patriots running back Stevan Ridley was down by contact after a 3-yard rush in the first quarter.

Officials reviewed the play and upheld the call on the field, that Ridley was down and had not fumbled. What made the challenge perplexing from the Bills' perspective is that the Patriots appeared to recover the fumble. Marrone explained today why he threw the red challenge flag.

"Here's exactly what happened. One, we didn't see the bean bag thrown for them to say that it was a fumble. We had 100 percent information that it was a fumble. But then what happened is, from where I was, I saw Manny get up and point that we had the ball," Marrone said, referring to Bills linebacker Manny Lawson. "So as we're waiting to get the feed, which we didn’t get that feed nor did the officials get that feed, New England's trying to hurry up. So I’m trying to put two and two together."

Marrone said he felt taking a chance to that point in the game on a potential turnover was worth the risk.

"If you're going to take a chance on a turnover -- which would have been a big thing on that side -- you know if you can't get the feed and you have to make a decision what to do, the first half you're ok," he said. "You know you may lose a timeout, but it gets critical in the second half when you can't afford to lose those timeouts and you have to be sure."

Like all teams, the Bills have personnel upstairs reviewing plays to determine when a challenge flag should be thrown. But they're dependent on being able to see the play on a replay and get the information to the coach before the opponent can get off a play.

"It's a lot easier ... when the extra feeds and stuff come in on Monday of what you should've done," the coach said. "Right now we're 0 for 1."

Marrone said knowing when to go on the advice of his players on when to throw the flag is a difficult call to make.

"That's a tough call. You know, it really is because you're battling. One, you want your players to make sure that they trust you. You know, and then all of the sudden they're telling you to do something," he said. "I think you want to get as much information as you can. You get it from the player and you get it from up top. And then you have to make a decision, because it is critical. You don’t ever want to use up two and then not have one for that second half. I think you’ve got to get as much information as you can in a short period of time. It’s very difficult."


Doug Marrone | Manny Lawson
comments powered by Disqus

About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |