One of the many heroes for the Jets on Sunday was right tackle Austin Howard.
The spot was trouble for the Jets thanks to Wayne Hunter?s turnstile-like tendencies in the preseason and they were crossing their fingers that Howard would be able to do the job on Sunday against defensive end Mario Williams. The Bills big offseason acquisition was a total non-factor, leading Rex Ryan to praise Howard?s work.
Williams wasn?t so forthcoming with compliments for Howard. Williams accused the Jets tackle of all manners of perfidy during the 48-28 victory and slammed the replacement officials for letting him get away with it.
?Pass blocking doesn?t consist of illegal hands to the face just about every play, which, when somebody tells you that, and you?re five yards away from it, and you walk away like you don?t see him telling you you?re getting punched in the face every time, then that dictates somebody like myself having to take care of that on my own,? Williams said, via Mike Mazzeo of ESPNNewYork.com. ?It?s not something that?s really going to dictate something, but what are you going to about it? You?re getting off the ball and getting punched in the face, literally ? not by accident ? just about every other time, and that?s a penalty, last time I checked, unless they changed it with the new CBA or something. Last time I checked, that?s a penalty.?
It?ll take a close review of the 11-on-11 film to see how often Howard might have crossed the line while blocking Williams because he was never penalized nor did he ever get away with a miss so egregious that it registered over the course of the game. In general, the only reason you would have noticed a difference from past officiating is if you were actively thinking about it. There were no mishaps of note in the officiating, excluding Williams? claims obviously.
Even if he did get away with using illegal technique, it doesn?t explain Stephen Gilmore getting burnt by Stephen Hill for a touchdown, three Ryan Fitzpatrick interceptions and a total breakdown by the Bills on Jeremy Kerley?s 68-yard punt return for a touchdown. The Jets beat the Bills across the board on Sunday.
The Bills and Jets meet again in the final week of the season when the original officials could be back on the job. That might make Williams happy, but it won?t change the fact that he and his teammates got blown out on Sunday.