We generally don’t do a whole lot of complaining about the officiating in the games that the Minnesota Vikings play, but in this particular case there were a couple of egregious issues that could have, potentially, cost the Vikings the game committed by Craig Wrolstad and his crew in their game against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday afternoon.
The first one is on the Gabriel Davis “catch” (which was absolutely not a catch) late in the fourth quarter that helped extend the drive that allowed the Bills to tie the game and send it into overtime. That was addressed directly by the crew after the game.
PFWA pool reporter @bylindsayhjones conducted an interview w/ NFL Senior VP of Officiating Walt Anderson. He said that Gabe Davis' catch on the final drive should've been incomplete and that they'll have to find out from the replay official why the game was not stopped to review— Alaina Getzenberg (@agetzenberg) November 13, 2022
Now, the play in question happened with under two minutes left, which means that the call for a review should have come from the booth and would not have been dependent on the status of how many timeouts a team had or anything like that. If the booth didn’t call for a challenge on that one, it’s difficult to understand why.
The other one might be even more awful, but we can break this down Sesame Street style. Here’s how the Vikings and Bills lined up on the first-and-goal play following the pass from Kirk Cousins to Justin Jefferson that put the Vikings at the Buffalo 2-yard line.
I believe you can click on the image to embiggen it.
As you can see, the Bills have 12 defenders on the field for this play. This isn’t one of those deals where there’s one guy trying to run off the field before the ball is snapped. This is 12 dudes legitimately lined up to attempt to stop the opposing team.
Dalvin Cook was stopped for no gain. No call for 12 men on the field. Kirk Cousins was sacked on the next play and the Vikings settled for what would, ultimately, be the game-winning field goal.
Sure, we can overlook these things because the Vikings won this football game. Had the Bills marched down in overtime and put the ball into the end zone for a win, we’d all have every right to be livid about this.
If it’s any consolation, though, I’m sure that Wrolstad and his crew will get a very, very stern talking to about this. Perhaps even a strongly-worded letter from the league telling them that they’d better not do it again, by golly.