Trailing by a point on the goal line with under two minutes remaining, the Chargers had a few options. They could try to score a touchdown, although that would have given the Browns the ball back with a chance to take the lead.

The Browns were out of timeouts, so the Chargers could have also knelt down and run the clock to try a last-second field goal, although obviously trailing by one, a mishap or block would have been a loss. (And NFL kickers today were very much not sharp, missing eleven extra points and plenty of field goals, including a missed PAT for the Chargers that would have tied the game earlier.)

In the end, they handed off to Austin Ekeler, who looked like he was much more interested in not scoring and running clock.

The Browns, though, had other ideas, seizing the opportunity to try and win the game:

That’s an insanely heads-up play. Sure, yes, there’s a chance the Chargers would have missed a field goal, but that chance is ridiculously small from that distance. The Chargers also could have scored on third down with very little time left, making it even harder on Cleveland.

By doing this, the Browns got the ball back to their offense with about ninety seconds remaining, knowing they needed a touchdown. They decided that scenario provided a better path to victory than letting the Chargers dictate and kick a field goal (most likely) with time expiring. It didn’t work out; the Browns got near midfield with about thirty seconds left before their drive stalled.

It’s honestly really hard to argue with their logic, though surely a lot of meatball fans and media members will probably try to for clicks and giggles. It’s wild whenever a game scenario arises in which it’s advantageous for one team to essentially carry an opponent into the end zone, but that’s exactly what happened here. Credit Cleveland’s defense for recognizing the situation and reacting accordingly.

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a writer and editor for The Comeback, and a contributor at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer.