NFL says Browns strip-sack of Derek Carr should not have been blown dead

Play would’ve resulted in 4th quarter defensive touchdown for Browns

Daryl Ruiter
October 05, 2018 - 7:44 pm
Derek Carr Oakland Raiders Cleveland Browns

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports


Berea, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Browns defenders were still angry Friday afternoon as they prepare for Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens over last week’s loss in Oakland that saw the officials blow a would-be sack fumble return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter dead.

On Friday, the NFL agreed they have every reason to be upset.

With 5:54 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Browns leading 35-34, defensive end Myles Garrett and linebacker Genard Avery hit Raiders quarterback Derek Carr on a third-and-9 at the Oakland 42 causing the ball to pop up in the air. Defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi picked up the loose ball and started running toward the end zone when whistles blew.

“I did not know that the play was dead,” Avery said Friday. “I just turned and saw him running and then eventually he made it 10 yards, 15 yards down the field and they started blowing the whistle.”

The officials ruled Carr’s forward progress was stopped and he was sacked, nullifying the fumble recovery to the dismay of everyone not affiliated with the Raiders.

“I don’t even want to get into it,” defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said.

During the weekly officiating video released by the league Friday afternoon, NFL senior V.P. of officiating Al Riveron confirmed that the play should’ve never been blown dead.

"Watch the passer on this play. We rule the passer stopped for forward progress, and we kill the play. This is not forward progress. Obviously, this is a fumble,” Riveron said. “We should have not have blown the whistle.”

Riveron also explained why the play was not reviewable.

“Because we ruled forward progress on the play, this play is not reviewable. This play would only be reviewable if it pertains to the line to gain or the goal line,” Riveron said. “So again, once the officials rule forward progress, the only way that play is reviewable either via a challenge or by a booth review is if it pertains to the line to gain or the goal line.”

Instead of the would-be defensive touchdown giving the Browns a 42-34 lead, Avery and Garrett were credited with half a sack on the play for a 3-yard loss. Cleveland eventually took that lead on the drive that followed the punt when Nick Chubb raced 41-yards for his second touchdown of the afternoon.

While the league admitted it erred, Garrett acknowledged the Browns learned a hard lesson.  

“Do not put it into the ref’s hands,” Garrett said. “Have to go get it again. Have to make big plays at the end of the game to take their decision-making out of it. Sometimes it is going to be for you. Sometimes it is going to be against you. You have to make sure that you leave no doubt for them.”