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NFL admits to late officiating mistake in Browns’ loss to Raiders

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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/players/27564/" data-ylk="slk:Derek Carr">Derek Carr</a> led the <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/teams/oak" data-ylk="slk:Oakland Raiders">Oakland Raiders</a>’ comeback win over the Cleveland Browns – with the help of two controversial calls. (Getty)
Derek Carr led the Oakland Raiders’ comeback win over the Cleveland Browns – with the help of two controversial calls. (Getty)

The NFL has admitted that at least one of two controversial calls in the fourth quarter of last Sunday’s game between the Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders was … well, flat-out wrong.

An errant whistle spared the Raiders

With the Browns clinging to a 35-34 lead and the Raiders driving, two Browns pass rushers converged on Derek Carr, sacked him, and stripped him. The ball trickled out of the scrum, and was scooped up by Larry Ogunjobi, who had a clear path to the end zone.

But a referee’s whistle stopped the play. One official, unaware that Carr lost the ball, ruled that his forward progress had been stopped. Thus, technically, the fumble never actually occurred. And because the play had been blown dead, it couldn’t be reviewed.

NFL admits to error

Five days later, the NFL admitted that it shouldn’t have been blown dead.

“We ruled the passer stopped for forward progress and we kill the play,” the league’s senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron said in a video breaking down select plays from Week 4. “This is not forward progress. Obviously, this is a fumble. We should not have blown the whistle.” 

Of course, that’s no consolation to seething Browns fans, who were also up in arms about an overturned first down spot later in the game.

In the end, though, the fumble call didn’t prove costly – which is perhaps one reason the NFL felt comfortable including it in the weekly recap. The Raiders punted. The Browns scored on the following drive to go up eight.

But the Raiders responded with 30 seconds left to send the game to overtime. They then won it in OT with a field goal, giving head coach Jon Gruden his first win in 10 years.

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