Browns fans should be angry after the officials decided the game for them against the Ravens. In a divisional match, a close loss can be devastating. A close loss to a rival decided by the referees can be knee-buckling.
With 21 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Josh McCown had connected with Terrell Pryor, who made a great catch and went out of bounds at the Ravens 10-yard line. Cleveland was in position to win the game even after blowing an early 20 point lead and playing with an injured McCown at quarterback.
Ultimately, this play basically never happened after offsetting penalties on both sides. After the play, Pryor attempted to throw the ball to the official but instead the ball hit cornerback Ladarius Webb, who was getting up from and was in between the path of Pryor and the official. After hitting Webb in the shoulder, the ball rolled away from the official, causing a taunting penalty. Webb committed a defensive holding penalty during the play, which would have been declined since Pryor caught the pass anyway.
The replay of down would be costly to the Browns as McCown threw an interception to C.J. Mosley on the next play, sealing another loss for Cleveland.
This game-changing call is even in a grey area for former referee Mike Perreira, who now serves as a rule analyst for Fox Sports.
Pryor dropped the ball on the opponent, but I don’t like that call as taunting.
Technically it is, but I don’t really like it.
— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) September 18, 2016
The game seemed to end in a typical Browns way. Even with a new coach and front office it’s business as usual. This year seemed to start the same as any other year ever since Cleveland returned to the NFL and they continue draft and play poorly.
Coach Hue Jackson has his hands full without costly mistakes from the referees. If this is going to be a different team, then Cleveland needs to brush off the loss and move on to next week.