So tonight, I was bored and started watching NFL game highlights from the Fins games this season. I noticed a lot of interesting things that made me wonder "What-If?"
Yes, I know "What-If" doesn't change anything, but still, it's fun to wonder.
Week 2 -- Indianapolis vs. Miami
...the Gibril Wilson catch was called an interception?
The infamous "What can happen in :08?" play. If Wilson hangs on to the ball all the way to the ground, Indy doesn't kick a field-goal at the end of the half to tie the game at 13. Indy only possesses the ball three times in the second half, they score two touchdowns. Miami's final drive has them only trailing 24-23. Instead of desperation heaves, the offense needs only work the Wildcat into position for a game-winning field goal.
...the Ted Ginn drop in the endzone.
An interesting point on this play, even if Ginn catches that pass, I don't think it would hold up. After watching the replays, it looks to me that Pennington was across the line of scrimmage as he released the ball. It seems that since it was incomplete, they didn't take a second look at it, but if this pass is caught, they'll review it to be sure. Would the play stand?
Week 4 -- New Orleans vs. Miami
...instant replay was working?
Early in the game on a 3rd-and-4, Henne completed an 8-yard pass to Davone Bess for a first down...or did he? The replays showed the ball clearly hitting the ground. However, only after the allotted maximum replay time had passed were the teams informed that the replay booth had a malfunction, and as a result, the play would stand as called. If Miami doesn't get that first down, they don't jump out to a 7-0 early lead. Do they ever get the momentum that led to a 24-3 lead? Does New Orleans blow the game wide open right off the bat?
...Colston's completion was ruled correctly on the field?
Late in the first half trailing 24-3, Drew Brees hits Marques Colston for what is ruled a touchdown with five seconds left. After a booth review, the play is overturned, and the ball placed at the one-half yard line. The second part of this "What-if" involves Sparano's inexplicable timeout call. No timeout, and perhaps it's 24-6 at the half. But here's the real key to this moment. If the call was made on the field, the Saints, with no timeouts, cannot stop the clock. The stop is made in the field of play, and time runs out. 24-3, halftime. Instead, the replay stops the clock, allowing New Orleans the opportunity to set up for a field goal, and eventually, a game-changing touchdown.
...Sharper's fumble is correctly ruled?
Early in the third quarter, Miami leading 24-10, Henne directs a pass to Ginn that is tipped twice and caught by Darren Sharper. Sharper appeared to fumble before returning the ball to the endzone for a touchdown. The play stood as called and New Orleans was suddenly within 24-17. However, photo evidence proves that this was a fumble. A photo in the following week's Sports Illustrated shows Sharper losing control of the ball inside the two-yard line. The ball went out of the endzone, and by rule, should have been a touchback. Miami maintains its two-touchdown lead, and gets effectively, a fresh set of downs.
Week 10: Tampa Bay vs. Miami
...the Jason Taylor interception was never overturned?
Inside of two-minutes to go in the half, Josh Freeman throws a pass to Michael Clayton. Clayton caught the ball, and so it looked, was down by contact. Yeremiah Bell rips the ball free and it goes into the arms of Jason Taylor. If Miami doesn't get the ball deep in the Bucs territory, Tampa either runs out the clock, or punts it away where Miami lacks the firepower to score the touchdown that makes the score 16-6, or possibly Carpenter's field goal. The score stays 9-6 at the half. Does Miami still win?
Week 12: Miami vs. Buffalo
...Ricky doesn't pass.
On Miami's opening drive, Ricky Williams is called upon to pass from the 3-yard line. The pass is intercepted. If the pass isn't called, and Miami instead runs in for a score, it's a 14-0 lead. The fourth quarter drive on which Lindell kicks a go-ahead 56-yard field goal, the score would be 21-14. Does Buffalo go for it on fourth-down instead? Henne isn't forced to pass late in the game, do the turnovers still happen?
I know, I know, wondering what if doesn't change a thing, but still, it's interesting to think about. Would Miami's 7-6 be 10-3 right now? It's just a few plays away from it. Of course...it's a few plays away from being 3-10 too....