The Bills were well on their way to win No. 4 this season, leading Cincinnati 20-13 in the fourth quarter, when a controversial call helped turn the tables.
With Buffalo ahead 20-13 midway through the fourth quarter, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a short pass over the middle to receiver Stevie Johnson. Johnson dropped to his knees to make the catch, then was hit by the Bengals' Nate Clements on his way down. Johnson appeared to hang onto the ball as he fell, but the play was ruled incomplete on the field.
Buffalo challenged the call and the ruling was upheld -- had the call on the field been a catch, it may have been equally difficult to overturn. The Bills punted on 4th-and-1, and Cincinnati took the ensuing possession 80 yards for a game-tying touchdown.
Cincinnati then won with a score on its next possession, a drive also aided by replay. Bengals QB Andy Dalton initially was ruled short of a first down on 3rd-and-3, but that play was overturned after a reviewing, giving Dalton the yardage he needed.
Johnson was livid after the game, writing on Twitter that it is difficult to win "playing 11 on 16" -- an apparent reference to what he perceived as the officials favoring Cincinnati.
The Bills WR quickly removed that tweet from his feed but did not hold back while talking to the media:
“It was clearly a catch, I don’t know what the refs were looking at,” an irate Johnson said. “I caught the ball, secured the ball and my knee was down. The ball was still in the same spot and I handed the ball to the referee. My knee was down before the dude even touched me. How is that not a catch?
“Personally, I feel it came dow(n) to calls and the referees. They did their part.”
Here's a brief replay of the Johnson non-catch:
You may recall that Johnson took to Twitter last season to place blame ... on God:
"I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!! AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??? HOW???!!! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!!! THX THO..."
He did not delete that tweet, however, which has to be some sort of comment on the type of power Roger Goodell's wielding around the NFL universe these days. Johnson likely faces a fine for his postgame comments on the officials, if not his most recent Twitter rant.