Cleveland Browns lose 27-26 thanks to key pass interference call

Brady Edelman Pats Browns

Brady Edelman Pats BrownsYou really can’t spend a lot of time talking about NFL football and talking about refereeing. It has a tendency to go both ways and good teams overcome all kinds of bad calls all the time. It’s a part of the game, period. Of course I open my recap that way because today is not one of those days.

Today, I have no choice. The Cleveland Browns were called for pass interference in the end zone on one of the softest calls I’ve ever seen while clinging to a 26-21 lead in New England. The Pats, who’d been trailing the whole game received the bail out call to end all bail out calls. Tom Brady threw long to Josh Boyce and Leon McFadden had great coverage as he and Boyce dove for the ball. The ball went past them both and the cowardly official tossed his flag on the field to make sure that the action wasn’t decided by the actual players making good football plays. Can you tell I’m still pretty fired up about it.

Serenity now…

The Browns played so well today in New England. The Browns came out with a really great game plan in the first half. They really made a concerted effort to ugly up the game by running the ball. They won the first half time of possession and kept the Patriots defense on the field. The Browns defense was doing a great job, aided by some bad Patriots drops in the passing game. They got after Tom Brady and thanks to D’Qwell Jackson’s interception and Paul Kruger’s strip, they won the turnover battle 2-0.

The Browns’ offense started slowly, but ultimately put up some points thanks to big plays. Gary Barnidge of all people went for 40 yards when Aqib Talib created havoc on the field by dragging Josh Gordon to the ground. It was a penalty the Browns declined, but it was almost like a big on-field screen that allowed a lumbering Barnidge to go 40 yards to the end zone.

Josh Gordon was not lumbering. Gordon caught a ball in stride and stiff armed Aqib Talib away as he raced 80 yards for his own score. There’s almost nothing left to say about Josh Gordon. Seven catches and one 34 yard run and he accounted for 185 yards of Browns offense all by himself. And welcome back Jordan Cameron. Cameron caught nine passes for 121 yards and a touchdown.

It’s just such a shame because the Browns could have and should have won this game. Yes, they could have recovered the onside kick so as not to allow the referees to decide it with a penalty. Yes, the Browns could have played tougher defense while nursing a 26-14 lead when they allowed the Pats to go 82 yards and a score. They didn’t and they very well might have given up a touchdown anyway even without the call, but it sure would have been nice to give the Browns’ defense a chance to do it from the 30 yard-line instead of giving it to them at the one.

As I said on Twitter, Rob Chudzinski should earn himself some fine dollars when talking about the officiating after this one. He’s earned the right to talk about the referees after this one. His team deserves his defense for their play today, because by my eyes they played pretty well against a good team late in a year after there wasn’t much of anything left for the Cleveland Browns to play for.

(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

  • Charlie B

    No, they weren’t. The call in the Jets game was correct. It’s a stupid rule, but if Pats fans are OK with the Tuck Rule win, then they have to take the bad with the good. The call in the Panthers game was also correct. Gronk could not have come to a full stop, stepped around the linebacker, and jumped in front of the safety to catch the ball in less than one second. The ball was uncatchable except by the Panthers. Your Patsies committed holding on your “winning” touchdown throw against the Saints, but didn’t get flagged.

  • Sam

    You are drinking the kool-aid of repeatedly using the phrase “drinking the kool-aid.” Stop drinking the kool-aid and think of something more original

  • Whiney the Elf

    Cry baby!

  • Whiney the Elf

    Yea and quit your crying already!

  • Whiney the Elf

    You need to take off your brown n orange glasses Fuzzy Whitaker touched the onside kick first a yard before it made it ten yards!

  • Ghoully

    Right, because two mistakes in the past makes the one mistake here perfectly fair and ok for the Patriots. Except the Browns weren’t part of the other 2 games that New England was “robbed” on. Pats fans have NO right saying this is ok when they cried foul on the other botched calls. You weren’t ok with the calls when your team didn’t benefit from them, and you still shouldn’t be ok with the calls when they do benefit.

  • dimoko

    I’m wondering how Scott Raab is going to find a way to blame this one on Joe Banner

  • 240

    Great catch Garry. Saw that launching on Cameron the whole way. No way they call it there though. The only way they would have called it was if he would have landed it on Cameron and Cameron would have dropped the ball in the process. Then they would have got the 15 yards from the penalty but not the catch.

  • Garry_Owen

    Didn’t he make contact? I deleted the game out of frustration, so I didn’t go back to look. I thought he did. Oh well.

  • 240

    I should be more specific. He launched and hit the defenseless receiver. But it wasn’t a square shot to the head so they would never ever call it. Unless Cameron dropped the ball, which he didn’t.

  • Garry_Owen

    Or unless it was a Patriots receiver.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    So, “Browniebob”, does this mean you are also a “loser fan”?

    If not, then what does your name mean? Is a “Brownie” a type of troll where you’re from? Because you are certainly acting like a troll.

  • Chad Froomkin

    Jerome Boger was the head referee, but Dyrol Prioleau, the field judge, made the call on Poyer and the PI on McFadden. Prioleau should be fined and suspended over those two calls that were obviously not penalties. Referees should also be accountable for effecting outcomes of games.

    If the Jets didn’t tell Boger that the Pats had been illegally pushing on field goals they don’t call that play, so that’s on the Pats for cheating. I’ll give you whiny mass holes the PI call against Carolina, but in no way should you now be “even” when it comes to Wins and Losses. That’s just mass hole logic right there.

  • BeefyK

    Hi All,
    Pats fan here. A few comments addressing comments below:
    1. These calls are happening to other teams as well. Just ask a 49ers fan.
    2. As for the call in the Jets/Patriots game at the end of which the refs decided to enforce a new rule, the League admitted that the Jets were also guilty of the same infraction earlier in the game. No call.
    I would suggest reading Peter King’s piece about the life of an NFL ref. My takeaways are:
    1. NFL refs ought to be full-time employees. It seems most of these guys are all struggling with multiple jobs.
    2. The NFL grading system is too harsh. It creates tunnel vision on the field. How else to explain the ref missing the call against Mike Tomlin?
    BK

  • Henry Brown

    But Gary if they called that penalty it would change the outcome of the game and good teams just automagically find a way to win.

  • Garry_Owen

    “Automagically.” Love that. I’m going to use it.

  • Henry Brown

    Don’t cry, Tom and Bob will call Rog and make sure you get all the calls. Oh look, seems they already did.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    I agree with the Full-Time employee part. These refs make good money as it is.

    The only reason why I can see the NFL not making them full-time is because of cold hard ca$h. Maybe they feel like they’d take a hit to the wallet if their guys were making more accurate call…even if they got paid exactly the same.

  • Henry Brown

    The faux grounding where Campbell wasn’t just outside of the pocket but outside the freaking numbers.

    The catch where the chain gang idiots are supposed to drop the sticks so the player doesn’t run into them and get hurt, but didn’t.

    I don’t really know how you can tell what Chud is or isn’t doing on the sidelines in regards to the refs, but we know nobody works a ref like Tom Brady.

  • mgbode

    breathe in, breathe out. breathe in, hold, hold, breathe out(slowly).

    nope, it’s not helping. STILL ANGRY!!!!

    (not just at the referees though, they were bad calls but we fell apart down the stretch as well)

  • bupalos

    I don’t think Chud outcoached Belichick. I think his players just played better. His decision to call a time out 1st and goal from the 1(when the odds of denying 4 chances from there are almost nil and aren’t going to significantly improve with a 1st down time-out) was moronic. And as it turned out probably cost the game. Not that you would have expected that, but that’s exactly what Bellichick doesn’t do– box himself in to his expectations.

    But the refs were really incredibly bad. To win 3 challenges and still have a lot left to complain about, that’s pretty dramatic. Another clear mistake that seem to be flying under the radar was the 1st q. 1st down at the 10 they took away when gordon dropped the ball a full 2 seconds after the catch and play were over, 6 yards out of bounds.

  • woofersus

    I don’t disagree with you, but it doesn’t make me feel any better about this one. I didn’t watch all of those games, but this one felt particularly badly officiated. Maybe that’s been the case a lot this year.

  • Wow

    Haha if he goes there he may never return. A place full of yelling and name calling with no rational discussion. I shudder at the thought.

  • mgbode

    on that grounding call Campbell also threw it in the relative vicinity of a RB who was thrown to the ground (Fozzy?).

  • Henry Brown

    The NFL wants them to be full time, the refs are the ones who want to keep their day jobs. The strike/lockout/whatever it was from last year was in part about that.

  • Garry_Owen

    Call it ageism, but they also need to be younger guys. I cannot help but think that having 50- and 60- year old men trying to keep up with monster, world-class athletes in their 20s is not helping the situation.

  • woofersus

    There’s not much to say that hasn’t been said. I thought they played well enough to win. If I’m the coach, that’s what I’m telling them in the locker room. The officiating was bad, and while there are always things missed and non-calls tend to hurt/help both teams, what really causes me outrage is when the officials make a conscious decision to throw a flag and alter the game.

    I’m not a conspiracy theorist and I won’t go down that path, but as a referee you have to be aware of the gravity of throwing that flag in situations where it’s purely a judgment call. (i.e. pass interference, unnecessary roughness, unsportsmanlike conduct, and things that generally aren’t black and white and can’t be fixed by review) It’s not even about being at the end of the game or not. You never want to give away a touchdown or take away a touchdown on a picky call. I’ve seen replays of that play at least 100 times, and I’d wager that if it happened 100 times in front of a random assortment of officials in a random assortment of situations, PI might be called 5 times max. (and NONE of them would have said the PI was in the end zone) A picky call like that deciding the outcome of the game is a travesty that the NFL needs to find a way to prevent. (never mind that the onside kick happened at the 50 because of a shoulder-to-shoulder hit that drew an unnecessary roughness flag in the end zone on the play before )

  • miked

    The same ref that made the bogus interference call in the end zone- was the same ref that had to keep looking up at his own fingers to see if he had the right number up !!…I am not kidding about this. The TV announcers were so shocked that they commented on it, and tried to cover for how stupid it looked by saying that it must be so cold he couldn’t feel his fingers! Then at another point, the ref held up his hand signaling a down and looked up at his hand again! This time the announcers ignored it. Wow.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    It should be simple then…hire full-time refs. Make it happen, there is no excuse for the NFL that I will find acceptable.

    If you want to keep your day job, by all means, do so. But if you want to be in my league, if you want to upohld the integrity of my league, then you need to show that commitment.

    Yes, this is oversimplifying what is a fairly complicated procedure (there is bound to be a lot of legality issues when it comes to dealing with the Ref’s union, etc…) but make it happen. If I’m the league, I’m going out on a PR run to make it happen…add a crap ton of pressure on the Ref union via publicity to make this happen. The fact that the league isn’t pushing this hard, means that each horrific call (missed or mis-called) is as much a black eye on the refs as it is the league (to me.)

  • Donnystar

    Cleveland’s defense, once again, can’t hold the lead. They should have NEVER let New England go down and score a touchdown in like 4 plays in the 4th qtr. they also blew it by not recovering the on side kick.
    Yes, I actually cried after this loss…..:(

  • fundamental coaching

    how ’bout this cleveland, if you went for the point after instead of getting greedy you at least would have seen overtime. coach, its early in the game and you go for 2? kick the pat and you would have had 27.

  • Jimmy Rustler

    lol u turdmuffin, Henry Brown, more like Henry Poop

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall
  • Steve_Not_Chad

    “I think you might be new here, but we try it keep it civil.”
    Only a moderator should ever type this.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com/ Scott @ WFNY

    And/or people who have a general respect for people/things.

  • mookie

    Sorry, but the outcome actually supported Chud’s decision. Had we kicked the PAT and been up 27-21 when the Pats scored the final TD, they would’ve simply kicked the PAT and won, 28-27 (rather than going for two). Which is exactly the outcome his decision was designed to avoid.

  • Steve_Not_Chad

    Not sure you are a shining example of that.