Rick- Let’s put this out there right away- if McCoy had thrown that first down pass just a tad lower, we aren’t having this conversation. The Browns would have had the ball on about the 17 yard line with a fresh set of downs and a little more than a minute left to play. I don’t know that they would have been able to push the ball into field goal range in that situation or not, but they certainly could have opened things up a bit more than they did on the goal-line. That first down pass was a very safe one. And it just fell short of working. I would have rather seen the team stay aggressive and try to get the first down- try to win the game than playing for the tie. At least in this situation. On the road, backed up on your own goal-line may have been a different story, but we were talking about a friendly crowd at your back.
Craig- I am curious to know the WFNY reaction. I won’t go as far as to say that Mangini SHOULD have gone for two after the Browns scored the touchdown. I would never do that. But imagine for a second that he went for it and the Browns lost by 1. Would you guys have supported the decision even in defeat? I would have stood by that one even if they had lost. A nice measured risk.
Scott- It didn’t even cross my mind until after the PAT. I can’t fault Mangini for not going for it, but I wouldn’t have faulted him at all had they gone for it and missed.
DP- My buddy and I were discussing it. Like, if you have a ST trick play, break it out for the win there. Anyone remember the 1999 Browns/Bengals game in Cleveland with the Gardocki flip to Dawson as a fake PAT/FG? Like, if you have something like that, bring it out. I don’t know that you just line up and go for it, though. But that’s just me.
Andrew- You could make an argument, too, that attempting to go for 2 would mean that Mangini didn’t have confidence in the Browns to stop the Jets or put together another drive in OT. I think Mangini just kicking the PAT showed nothing but ultimate confidence in his team. And it should have paid off for him. The Browns stopped the Jets, and if Stuckey doesn’t fumble, Phil Dawson is going to get to attempt a kick to win the game. It was one hell of a game by the Browns, and painfully close.
Craig- I thought throwing on first down was brave. They missed on it, but they had a really good chance to still tie it with the way Hillis had been running the ball all game. I think throwing it on first down is a measured risk because if you complete it, you are up around your own 35 or 40, if I remember correctly how far Watson got out there. Even in not completing it, thinking has to be that you injected it into the minds of your opponent and it should soften up the running lanes for Hillis on second down. The Jets stepped up and blew up the second down running play. I just don’t see where second guessing your team for trying to buck the odds and win from their own part of the field in overtime is sensible.
Rick- Fundamentally, there was no reason not to go for the win. A tie does nothing there. You can talk about moral victories if you want, but they had already proven they can hang with the best teams in the league by getting to OT there. (That and the last 2 wins.)
DP- That first down pass to Watson was really, really close. I give McCoy props for giving Watson a chance, but putting it pretty much where it was either going to be a completion or nothing. I think they gave it one shot to try and move the ball and win the game, but once that was incomplete they HAD to try to run the clock. And honestly, if we want to talk about win vs. tie, if Elam makes the pick at the 3, the Browns aren’t down 7 on that last drive; they’re down 4. Of course, they have to go 35 more yards to score, but that made a big difference.
Andrew- The ONLY decision I was disappointed with was when we punted on 4th and 3 with 3 minutes left in OT. It seemed unlikely the Browns would get the ball back in any kind of position to score from, so I would have just gone for it there. If you don’t get it, oh well, you might lose, but at least you left everything on the field. Again, I was ecstatic when they let McCoy throw on 1st down when they did get the ball back. A tie was just as bad as a loss in my eyes, so rather than playing for a tie at best, they tried to let McCoy make a play to give the Browns a chance to put together a winning drive. And it was damn close, too. If that ball is just a little lower and Watson brings it in, I have a feeling the narrative would be much different today.
Rick- I agree Rock, I thought for sure that was going to be 4 down territory there.
TD- You guys are crazy…we were at our own 44. If you go and don’t get it, Mangini is crucified today. That is a real roll of the dice. Id much rather tie than lose, especially how I feel today.
DP- And, not to divert the discussion and/or beat the “we have no WRs!” dead horse, but on that McCoy roll-out throw to MoMass down the right side on third down… if we had a WR with ANY kind of separation speed, that’s a freaking touchdown. I really, really, REALLY hope one of the (I perceive) three big-time WRs that will most likely be in the first round are there wherever we pick: AJ Green, Alshon Jeffery, Julio Jones. Somebody that can stretch the field and catch the ball. Please!
TD- Look at how good Dez Bryant has been the last few weeks. Give me someone like that. I agree. This loss may be the difference between getting AJ Green or not. Underrated aspect of the loss.