The Buffalo Bills were not at all happy after watching quarterback Josh Allen take a brutal hit in their 16-10 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday.
The hit in question came in the fourth quarter as the Bills attempted to mount a comeback against their divisional rival. After Allen scrambled for a seven-yard gain, he was first met by Patriots safety Duron Harmon, who teed Allen up for a devastating hit to be delivered by cornerback Jonathan Jones.
The Bills secondary didn't shy away from criticizing the officials no-call on the hit.
After the game, Bills safety Micah Hyde called out the officials for what he perceived as a double-standard in how hits are called against his quarterback and his opposition, Tom Brady.
"That's the first thing that came out of my mouth on the sideline: If one of us did that to 12, we wouldn't have been in the game anymore," Hyde said after the game. "There's no way. There's no way we would've continued to play in that game."
Jordan Poyer, Hyde's partner in the Bills secondary, agreed.
"I'd think you'd be probably thrown out of the football game. I'm just going to leave it at that," said Poyer, per Rochester's Democrat and Chronicle. "It is what it is. The ref saw a bang-bang play. It's hard to say because I didn't really see it, but like you said, if that type of hit happens on No. 12 you'd probably be thrown out of the game."
The Patriots, however, pushed back, saying hits like the one Allen took are a risk that comes with being a mobile quarterback.
Brady softly pushed back at the criticism in an interview with WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show" on Monday, saying that big hits are one of the risks that come with rushing in the open field as a quarterback.
"A lot of quarterbacks who do run, they're trying to make yards and it's great. At the same time, you're susceptible to big hits," Brady said, per ESPN. "Whether it's flagged or not, or whether it's a penalty, a lot of the rules have changed over the years, but from a quarterback's standpoint I feel like it's always best to try to be available to the team, and it's trying to take risk/reward and so forth. Nobody likes to see anybody get hurt out there. From my own experience, I try to do the best I can to avoid any big shots like that."
Brady does have his share of experience taking big hits in his two decades as a starting NFL quarterback, with one notable hit coming 18 years ago against the Bills.
Brady told WEEI that after that game, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick pulled him aside to remind him to stay safe even if it meant giving up a few extra yards.
"I remember the next day, Coach Belichick said to me — I'll never forget this — he said, 'Hey Brady, if you want to have a career in this league, when you're running like that, you either throw the ball away or slide!' I've kind of taken to that."
While he doesn't want his 42-year-old quarterback taking such damage, Belichick also defended the Patriots big hit against Allen.
"Allen is a big runner, he's a strong guy, he's hard to tackle. He certainly broke several tackles against us," Belichick said Monday, according to ESPN. "Jon turned when he hit him, he didn't lead with his head, he didn't have that posture. I think [senior V.P. of officiating] Al Riveron talked about the play yesterday, and that's what we have to go by. "
Both sides have a point in their respective arguments. The Patriots aren't in control of how the officials call the game, and can only go by what the NFL tells them is and is not a legal hit. At the same time, given how protective officials have been of Brady in the past, it's almost impossible to imagine that a player wouldn't be ejected for throwing such a hit at the Patriots quarterback.
The Bills and Patriots will meet again in Week 16 in Foxboro, in a game you can be sure that both teams will be watching the officiating closely.