Buffalo Bills: A Season of ‘What-Ifs’ and ‘Who-Knows’

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Dec 24, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Robert Woods (10) runs after a catch and is knocked out of bounds by Miami Dolphins free safety Bacarri Rambo (30) during the second half at New Era Field. The Dolphins beat the Bills 34-31 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

As the playoff drought extends, the Buffalo Bills’ season has turned into one giant ‘what if?’

In a season when the Buffalo Bills fired their head coach and his brother, and will likely end up one game out of a wild card berth, you can waste a lot of time with ‘what-ifs.’

What if Reggie Ragland didn’t get injured in training camp?

What if Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods were healthy together?

What if Jarvis Landry didn’t deck Aaron Williams? Well, we’ll come back to that one at a later date.

What if the referees were held accountable? Hmmm. This is an interesting one.

Look, I’m often the last person to put blame on referees after a loss. However, there are a couple of games that you can reasonably ask, “What if the referee didn’t blow this call? Could the outcome have been different?”

First, think back to the Monday night loss against the Seattle Seahawks.

Look, I’ll even ignore that they blew the Richard Sherman call. What still irks me is the delay of game penalty. At this point, we all know the story, but Dan Carpenter drilled that kick as the whistle was being blown for the delay of game penalty.

Those are three points and there’s no ‘what if’ there. He made the field goal. That frees Buffalo up to try a field goal late in the game, which would have been closer than an extra point, for the tie. Buffalo would be going into overtime with the momentum, similar to the Miami Dolphins this past week.

Now fast forward to Saturday’s game.

Just think for a second. The refs missed two clear defensive pass interference penalties in the end zone. Once against Marquise Goodwin and the other against Charles Clay. Both times the defender ran through the pass catcher.

Because of that, Buffalo had to settle for different outcomes of drives. At the very least, Buffalo gets six shots at a touchdown, from the 1-yard line, in a game that went into overtime.

Then there’s the missed timeout before Andrew Frank’s game-tying field goal. OK, so Rex Ryan wasn’t getting the attention of the side judge. But what about Corey White? He’s calling a timeout and, in theory, at least one ref should have seen him.

Now sure, Franks could have hit the field goal a second time. But he was going for his career-long and Buffalo would have had its field goal block unit on the field. Things could have been different.

While a lot of things caused Buffalo to miss the playoffs for a 17th straight season, it would have been nice to have some more-consistent refereeing from the officials.

Would the outcome have been different? Who knows.

But wouldn’t you have liked to find out? I know I would.

What was the saddest moment of this season? Leave your comments below!

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