Yesterday afternoon the Cleveland Browns found a way to lose their eighth game of the season in The House That Jerry Built. After leading 13-0 at halftime, the Browns went into prevent defense–and offense. By ‘prevent’ I mean it prevented the Browns from winning. Cleveland was outscored 23-7 in the second half and overtime. Pat Shurmur and Dick Jauron made questionable call after questionable call. The young secondary got beat up and down the field leading to multiple penalties resulting in first downs for the Cowboys. As fun as it was to watch the first half it was heart-breaking to watch the second half.
That being said, the Cowboys reiterated what we already knew about our team. We are young on both sides of the football and our coaching staff has lacked play calling and more importantly player discipline. Our defense was penalized ten times and while I agree some of that is because of youth it is also because of a lack of discipline.
The Cowboys did not only point out flaws in the Browns’ offense and defense, they also unintentionally pointed out some rules that need to be addressed. I am not questioning the calls made by the officials, though there were some very questionable calls (blown false start, for example.). However, I am questioning the rules. I understand the meaning behind this rule, but not charging a timeout to a team with an injured player after a penalty is opening up doors for teams to fake injuries like the New York Giants were questioned about in the past. I think that both Ogletree and Harris were legitimately banged up on both penalties that resulted in injury timeouts, but what is going to stop another receiver from getting hit late in the game, seeing the yellow flag, and staying down to get a timeout for his team to regroup? It is not meant to stop the clock, but it gives a team the chance to catch their breath and make a more thought out play call. The referees are just doing their job, but I think this rule will get looked at some day when a player mysteriously gets hurt after a penalty.
A second rule that should be examined is that a fumble ruled an incomplete pass is not reviewable. In overtime Miles Austin dropped a pass from Tony Romo. The Browns played it as a fumble and fell on the ball. When the play was taken a closer look at during a Browns timeout, Ed Hochuli pointed out that the play is actually not reviewable–he pointed it out multiple times I might add. When the replay was shown the play was much closer than it was in real time. While I agree that Austin never had complete possession of the ball, it should still be reviewed. If they had ruled the play a fumble they would have been able to review the play because it was a turnover and they most likely would have overturned the call and it would have remained Dallas ball. Why have one way reviewable and the other not? If that’s the case, always call it a fumble so you can review it.
The third and final rule I would change is letting Ed Hochuli have a microphone. Some people say that instant replay slows the game down. Well, so does Hochuli’s explanations. I am all for being thorough, but a good official can do that in one sentence, not a monologue.
Were the Browns robbed? What other rules need examined? Let me know in the comment section or on Twitter @Believelander.
Keep your eyes peeled and ears open for the MTAF Podcast too. It’s on iTunes!