In what probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone, the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots had two very different reactions to the hit that knocked Bills quarterback Josh Allen out of the game on Sunday. During the fourth quarter of New England’s 16-10 win, Allen took a brutal helmet-to-helmet hit from Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones. Despite the fact that Allen had established himself as a runner on the play, Bills coach Sean McDermott felt that the hit was dirty enough that it should’ve resulted in Jones being kicked out of the game.
“There’s no room in football for that,” McDermott said via CBS in Boston. “It is a shame to see a player like Josh, or any player for that matter, go down on a hit like that. I asked for an explanation. I thought he should have been thrown out. Other than that, I am not going to get into that at all. That is for the league to get into.”
Although Jones was flagged for unnecessary roughness, he was not ejected, which is a decision that Bill Belichick definitely seems to agree with. The Patriots coach was asked about the hit on Monday and explained that Jones did everything he’s taught to do in a situation like that.
“I think when a player — when there isn’t really much you can tell them to do differently, then I think you don’t tell them anything,” Belichick said, via quotes distributed by the team. “I mean, Allen’s a big runner, he’s a strong guy, he’s hard to tackle. He certainly broke several tackles against us. Jon turned when he hit him, he didn’t lead with his head, he didn’t have that posture. So again, I think [NFL VP of officiating] Al Riveron talked about the play [Sunday] and that’s what we go by. So we’ll coach it based on what Al’s guidelines or commentary was on the play.”
Riveron obviously felt the same way as Belichick about the play, because he decided not to eject Jones after watching a replay of the hit from the NFL’s command center in New York.
“Well, we looked at it and in this situation, we didn’t feel that that contact rose to the level of an ejection,” Riveron said in the postgame pool report. “The player actually turns. Obviously, there is helmet contact, but we have standards for an ejection.”
If you watch a replay of the hit, Jones does seem to square up just before making contact with Allen, and it doesn’t really seem like he was targeting the quarterback’s head, which would have definitely led to an ejection.
Although the NFL might agree with Belichick’s version of events, the Bills view the entire incident as a giant double standard. During an interview after the game, Bills safety Micah Hyde said if he would have made that same exact hit on Tom Brady.
“The first thing that came out of my mouth on the sideline (was) ‘If one of us had did that to [Brady], we wouldn’t have been in the game anymore.'” Hyde said. “There’s no way we would continue to play in that game.”
The one thing that makes the situation worse for Buffalo is that Allen was knocked out at a key point in the game. With the Bills trailing 16-10 in the fourth quarter, Allen had marched them into Patriots territory before taking the hit that would cause him to exit the game with 14:26 left to play. Allen ended the loss with 153 passing yards and three interceptions.