The Los Angeles Rams came within a whisker of completing one of the wildest comebacks in regular-season history, erasing a 25-point deficit to take a four-point lead over the Buffalo Bills.
With 25 seconds left, and the Bills trailing 32-28, Josh Allen took the snap from the Rams' 13-yard-line on fourth-and-8. He tossed a pass in the direction of Gabriel Davis near the goal line. The throw was behind the wideout, but a flag sailed in. Pass interference. New life for Buffalo. On the next play, Allen tossed the go-ahead TD to Tyler Kroft for the win.
Rams players took exception to the DPI called on corner Darious Williams.
Receiver Robert Woods was asked if it looked like Williams committed a penalty from where he stood on the sideline.
"No, obviously not," Woods responded. "Being out there, he's playing defensive back, he's playing hands-on, he's checking him, and as he gets into his route, the receiver initiates the contact and the quarterback is literally just throwing the ball in the area, and it wasn't even a catchable ball. But, obviously, they made the call, it is what it is, you got to keep playing and finish the game."
The call seemed ticky-tack at best. Still, no game comes down to one play. Earlier in the bout, refs ruled a simultaneous possession was an interception for L.A. Had that judgment call went the other way, the Rams' comeback bid would likely have been snuffed out before it started.
"There's a million calls in the game, and it's unfortunate that one like that can go make it, essentially, if they don't call it, the game is over," said QB Jared Goff, who passed for 321 yards and two touchdowns, with an INT. "But there's calls that went our way that game and there's calls that went their way that game, and unfortunately, that one was at the end of the game like that."
The Rams got down 28-3 midway through the third quarter before scoring touchdowns on four straight drives to take the lead with under five minutes remaining. The Bills then drove into scoring position on the final possession. The pass interference penalty gave Buffalo renewed life, and Allen took advantage.
"I hate it for our guys that it ended up the way that it did and came down to some of the things that it came down to," coach Sean McVay said. "But we're a tough group, we're a mentally tough group, we're going to use this as an opportunity to respond."
The loss pushed the Rams to 2-1. In the toughest division in football, that puts them tied with the Cardinals and 49ers behind the undefeated Seahawks. The NFC West is going to be a wild sprint for the rest of the season.