Cade York celebrating

The Cleveland Browns got one over on Baker Mayfield on Sunday, defeating the Carolina Panthers 26-24 on a last-second field goal. However, it appears that the Browns got away with an illegal fake spike to set up the kick, which they should have been penalized for.

With 19 seconds left, the Browns trailed 24-23 and found themselves at the Panthers’ 40-yard-line. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett took the snap and fake-spiked the ball before actually spiking it. In doing so, he violated Rule 8, Section 2, Article 1, Item 4 of the NFL rulebook, which states that a player, who, “after delaying his passing action for strategic purposes, is prohibited from throwing the ball to the ground in front of him.”

However, the referees didn’t penalize Brissett for the action and let the Browns kick their game-winning field goal from that spot. In actuality, they should have been penalized and lost yards, which could have significantly changed the outcome of the final play.

Referee Brad Rogers was asked about the fake spike after the game, telling reporters that “we determined that stepping back does not disqualify the quarterback from spiking the ball and we allowed him to do that by rule.”

The referees also caught a lot of flack for calling a roughing the passer penalty against the Panthers when it seemed dubious as to whether or not it should have been, especially given the moment in the game.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a truly wild Week 1 in the NFL without some questionable referee decisions.

[gifdsports, Will Brinson]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to