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Midseason penalty report: Bills still have flag concerns

By Tim Graham

After four games, the Buffalo Bills were having an historically bad time with penalties.

They were on track to commit the second-most in club history for the most yards and first downs granted.

At the 2013 midpoint, the Bills have curbed their malfeasance a bit. Although the Bills still are awarding gift first downs at a record rate, they're on pace to finish with the 10th-most penalties and the eighth-most yards lost.


Bills opponents have accepted 58 penalties (tied for fourth in the NFL) for 497 yards (ninth). Defensive penalties have awarded 20 first downs (tied for 30th).

The average NFL team entering Week Nine has committed 48 accepted penalties for 418 yards and 14 first downs.

Bills penalties have nullified 183 yards gained on offense and special teams.

Flags have stalled 12 drives. A stalled drive is defined as one that produces no points or a first down after the penalty in question.

Left tackle Cordy Glenn leads the Bills with five penalties for 48 yards. Each penalty stalled a drive.

Defensive tackle Kyle Williams also has five penalties but for 32 yards. Three of his penalties have given the opponent a first down.

Defensive backs Aaron Williams and Nickell Robey each have been charged with three accepted penalties for three first downs.

All of Aaron Williams' flags have been for 15-yard penalties, two for unnecessary roughness and one for a horse-collar tackle. Robey's flags have been coverage fouls.

Offensive holding is the most common Bills penalty. The Bills have been called 13 times for 105 yards, 145 nullified yards. Holding has stalled six drives, more than all but three teams.

Center Eric Wood has been the most frequent holder. He has been called four times, with one being declined.

The Bills have been flagged for seven false starts, five defensive holdings and five neutral-zone violations.

Coaches consider pre-snap penalties a cardinal sin.

The Bills have committed 23 of them, with three declined.


Aaron Williams | Cordy Glenn | Eric Wood | Kyle Williams | Nickell Robey
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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 |