FOXBORO, Mass. — Referee Craig Wrolstad gave his explanation for overturning Kelvin Benjamin’s touchdown catch. NFL senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron also weighed in.
To say the Buffalo Bills disagree would be putting it mildly.
Benjamin appeared to make a touchdown catch with two seconds remaining in the first half Sunday against the New England Patriots. But Wrolstad’s crew ruled the play incomplete after video review, forcing Buffalo to settle for a field goal before halftime.
New England outscored the Bills 24-3 in the second half to cruise to a 37-16 win at Gillette Stadium.
Several Bills players voiced their anger over the call after the game, but running back LeSean McCoy was the most critical, essentially accusing the refs of playing favorites.
“It’s just crazy, man, because you put so much into it and you get robbed like that,” McCoy added. “Come on. That’s a touchdown.”
McCoy did clarify that one play wasn’t the reason Buffalo lost. But he wasn’t the only one upset in the visitors’ locker room.
“I saw it as a touchdown,” Bills head coach Sean McDermott said in his postgame press conference. “I am at a loss for how a play like that can get overturned.”
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who threw the pass to Benjamin, repeatedly described the call as “horrible” after the game.
“Very disappointing,” Taylor said. “It was a horrible call. Disappointed, but you’ve got to move forward.”
In fact, Taylor said he spoke to an official who thought the TD should have stood.
“Obviously the lack of explanation out there was definitely something that — even talking to (a) ref on the sideline, he thought it was a catch,” Taylor added. “But like I said, the game wasn’t lost on that play. Definitely a pivotal point in the game, but we were able to tie the ballgame up.”
Bills safety Micah Hyde admitted the same thing, claiming he spoke with officials who sided with the Bills after Benjamin’s catch, as well as Buffalo’s stop on a 4th-and-1 in the third quarter that was ruled a New England first down after the Patriots challenged and won.
“I even asked the refs after those plays, and they agreed with me, they agreed with our team,” Hyde said. “That’s why they made those calls, because that’s what they felt was the vantage of those calls. It is what it is.”
Of course, it’s hard to blame a 21-point loss on poor officiating, and the Bills were quick to admit they came up short in other areas. But New England’s AFC East rivals clearly are leaving Foxboro with a bitter taste in their mouths.