Usually on Sunday night, we dissect the Browns game played earlier today and talk about the reasons why the team won or loss the contest.
Cleveland lost today a game they had every right to win, dropping a controversial 27-26 decision to the playoff-bound New England Patriots.
Jason Campbell returned to quarterback and played a marvelous game, hitting 29 of 44 throws for 391 yards and three touchdown tosses. Josh Gordon continued his All Pro play by catching seven balls for 151 yards, including an 80-yard catch and run for a touchdown.
TE Jordan Cameron returned to the offense, catching nine throws for 121 yards and a TD that gave Rob Chudzinski’s team a 26-16 lead with 2:39 remaining in the game.
Future Hall of Famer Tom Brady threw for 418 yards, but was picked off by LB D’Qwell Jackson and was sacked four times by a tenacious Cleveland defense.
The Browns drop to 4-9 on the campaign with just three games remaining.
That’s about all we are going to say about the actual play on the field, because the officiating in this football game was the main story.
We have said it before and we will say it again today…NFL officials are the worst in professional sports. We say this because they like to make an impact on games, and sometimes there is no rhyme or reason for the calls they make.
Certainly, the pass interference call which set the Patriots up for the winning touchdown was terrible and even the national media and a former supervisor of officials said so.
While Brady may have led New England to a touchdown anyway, the call put the ball on the Cleveland 1 yard line, basically giving the Pats a victory.
The professional game needs to adopt the college rule, making defensive pass interference a maximum 15 yard penalty only. In most cases, the contact involved is so incidental and/or being initiated by the offensive player to penalize a team more than 15 yards for the infraction.
However, that was only the last horrible call made by this crew.
They bungled the intention grounding rule twice, once allowing Brady to throw a ball away inside the tackle box while being pressured without a call, and then when Campbell escaped from the pocket, scrambled outside the hash marks, and threw a pass while being hit that bounced perhaps five yards away from Chris Ogbonnaya, he was flagged for 10 yards and a loss of down.
To prove this is not sour grapes, the Browns converted the first down on the next play anyway with Campbell hitting Gordon for a first down.
Another missed call was on Julian Edelman’s 2-yard TD catch with 1:01 remaining. Jordan Poyer was flagged for the hit on a defenseless receiver when he clearly (according to replays) hit Edelman in the shoulder with his shoulder. It was a hit designed to jar the ball loose, and he did not lead with his helmet, nor did he hit Edelman in the helmet.
The flag allowed the Patriots to try their onside kick attempt from the 50-yard line instead of the 35.
New England was on the short end of officials deciding the game earlier in the year, when officials cited the rarely called helping a teammate by pushing them forward penalty. That call resulted in the Jets getting another attempt for a field goal after a miss. The kicker made the second try and won the game.
The NFL is football on the highest level, and the players have a great deal riding on every game, since there are only 16 of them. The league needs to let the players decide the outcome.
The officiating is a problem that needs to be addressed.